Since Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded our facility in Clearwater, Florida, 25 years ago, we have used our ground-breaking dual diagnosis methodology to address not just addiction but also the underlying psychological, mental and emotional challenges that trigger or worsen it. We have spent the last two-and-a-half decades witnessing firsthand how American teenagers' struggles with substance abuse and their issues with problems like anxiety and depression are inextricably linked. A new series from The Today Show, called "Secret Lives of Teens," is underscoring that connection.
Prescription drug addiction is of particular concern for today's high schoolers. Cyrus Stowe, 17 years old, tells Today Show correspondent Maria Shriver that many of his peers mistakenly believe prescription pills are safe.
"It doesn't look harmful, there's no needle and they have no idea what they're taking in a lot of cases," Stowe tells Shriver. "What we found out was, we'd go into the restroom and students right before a test would go into a stall, pop an Adderall, sometimes snort it, and trade more hard drugs like Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, and just take them as if it was vitamin C."
Because prescription drugs are often perceived as relatively harmless, they may be abused by kids who you wouldn't expect to use drugs — high-achieving, successful students and athletes who are secretly struggling with undiagnosed issues like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription medications are the most abused drugs among American 12- and 13-year-olds.
If you believe that your child is battling addiction and perhaps suffering from underlying psychological, mental or emotional problems, know that recovery is possible with dual diagnosis. There is no better place to find healing than at Fairwinds, one of the best addiction treatment centers in the world.