There is a prescription drug abuse problem among teens. Prescription drugs have replaced illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroine as the major type of drug that is being abused by teenagers. Prescription drugs such as Vicodin, oxycotton, oxycodone, and other opiate containing drugs, are highly abused by teenagers today. Other prescription drugs that are abused by teens are amphetamine salts, and benzodiazepines. These drugs are commonly stolen from medicine cabinets or are sold to teens by people who have access to the drugs.
I think there is definitely a prescription drug abuse problem among teens. One reason for this is the drugs are readily available. Most parents or grandparents have a variety of prescription drugs in their homes. Some are narcotics, and many of them are addictive. Kids just sneak a few out of the pill bottle and no one ever misses a few pills. This is almost too easy - the drugs are free and the kids don't have to buy from a dealer.
There are two major prescription drug epidemics among teenagers. The first is teens abusing depressants: things like Valium and Xanax. These drugs are typically prescribed to adult family members for anxiety or insomnia and are abused by teenagers for the same reasons people abuse alcohol - stress reduction, a loss of control, and decreased inhibitions. The second is teens abusing stimulants: things like Adderall and Ritalin. Unlike depressants, stimulants are usually prescribed to the teens (or their friends). Stimulants are abused by teens to increase alertness and energy, and also to get a sense of euphoria from increased dopamine production. Both epidemics can have long lasting effects. Tampering with brain chemistry can be very dangerous, especially during the teenage years when there is such intense brain development taking place.
Teens these days are trying to grow up so much faster these days. Teens have TV, the internet, and almost anything at will. They can see everything and anything and using prescription drugs or drinking alchohol to get high or drunk is something that is a draw to them because it's supposedly cool. We need to buck that trend and make sure kids do not abuse them.