A recent University of Colorado study reported that adolescents today are abusing prescription pain medications like vicodin, valium and oxycontin at a rate that is 40 percent higher than previous generations. According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org:
– 1 in 6 teens has used a prescription medication in order to get high or change their
– Each day, 2,000 teens use a prescription drug to get high for the first time
– Two-thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers get them from family members or friends
Many teens think taking prescription medications are safe because they have legitimate uses, but taking them without a prescription to get high or “self-medicate” can be as dangerous – and addictive – as using illicit drugs.
What parents can do
1. Educate yourself about the prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines that kids are abusing.
2. Communicate with your kids:
– Discuss the subject with your teenagers. See what your kids know about peers using medications without a doctors’ prescription.
– Warn your teenagers that taking prescription medications without a doctors’ supervisioncan be just as dangerous and as potentially lethal as taking illicit drugs.
– Set clear expectations with your teenagers, letting them know that under no circumstances should they take any medications without your knowledge.
3. Safeguard medications at home and other places.
– Take an inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications in your home. Pay attention to quantities.
– Keep medications out of reach – and out of easily accessible places like the medicine cabinet.