The non-medical use of prescription medications is common among adolescents, with 5.9 percent of those ages 18 to 25 reporting use within the month prior to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. While some teens can recover from their addictions at home, under the watchful eyes of their parents, some teens need the structure and supervision they can only get in a residential facility. Here, they’ll get the help their parents may not be able to provide.
Prescription drugs can leave their mark on young minds, causing intense cravings that seem to persist, no matter what the teen might do to ameliorate the pain. If these teens lived at home, they might easily relapse to drug use, as prescription drugs are remarkably easy for almost any teen to find. In fact, according to a study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, prescription drugs are more accessible than beer among teens ages 12 to 17. In a residential facility, all prescriptions are kept under lock and key, and urine testing for drugs takes place on a regular basis. It’s almost impossible for teens to relapse under these conditions, as they just don’t have the opportunity to do so.
Residential facilities often provide teens with a significant amount of care throughout the day. They might attend individual sessions, group sessions, support group meetings and educational sessions, in addition to performing coursework that meets state requirements, and they might spend their free time in experiential therapies like hiking and sports. Every moment of the day is focused on the addiction issue, and the opportunities for learning really are endless.
Programs like this can also allow teens to step away from their routines that tend to lock an addiction in place. While they’re in residential care, they won’t have access to:
- Drug-using friends
- Drug dealers
- Spaces in which they once used drugs
- Parties that include the use of drugs
They have the opportunity to focus exclusively on healing, without dealing with the day-to-day pressures that could lead them back into bad habits. For some teens, this is the kind of break that could lead to long-term healing.
Efficacy of Care
Addictions are chronic conditions, so they can only be managed instead of eliminated entirely. But research suggests that those teens who enroll in inpatient programs get the kind of care and support that can allow them to make remarkable and lifelong changes. For example, in a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers found that teens who completed an inpatient program were likely to use drugs at a lower rate four years later, particularly if these teens took stimulants. Studies like this seem to suggest that teens can apply the lessons of rehab in their later lives and make important changes with the skills they obtain in their treatment programs. It could be just the thing a teen needs in order to break an addiction to prescription drugs.
At Muir Wood, we provide care for adolescent boys who are struggling with issues of addiction. Our residential care program provides intensive care for these young men, helping them to leave their addictions behind and prepare to enter the world as healthy and happy adults. If your son needs help with a prescription drug issue, we urge you to call us.