Teens and medicine

You know, I used to think that since we live in fairly small towns, we don’t have the same problems that the big cities have. Well, the only truth to that is, we don’t have the same numbers of people – but we have the same problems!

One in four youths report using prescription medications for non-medical issues; one in eight youths specifically report using Ritalin or Adderall.

Meet the “smart pills!” Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, initially designed to treat individuals with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are being used by growing numbers of students to improve academic performance. These drugs, known to calm the body and mind of a person with ADHD, tend to awaken those without ADHD to remain alert, focus, learn, memorize and recall.

Does a risk exist to using these prescription medications if they’re not prescribed for their original purpose? Yes, yes, yes! Abuse of such medications can lead to sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, mood swings and heart irregularities. Experts say these drugs have the ability to permanently change the chemistry of the still-developing adolescent brain, which develops though the age of 26.

You’ve made your stance clear against illegal drug use, right? Well, most youths believe their parents wouldn’t care as much if they’re caught using prescription drugs versus illegal drugs. Therefore, they believe these prescription medications – because they are prescriptions – can’t hurt you as much as say, heroin or cocaine.

What can a parent do? Lock your medicines away. Turn unused medicines in to the sheriffs offices’ drop boxes. Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot counties all have drop boxes 24/7 at the sheriffs’ office lobbies.

Know! is a program of the Drug Free Action Alliance, and we appreciate this information.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse. It has a website,, and a link to our Facebook page. If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The board’s funded hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 826-1306.

Nancy Cochran,

executive director