Teens are abusing prescription drugs they find at home. Here’s what they are doing—and how parents can stop it.
It can be medication left over from your last surgery. Maybe they’re the pills you keep on the dresser or tucked inside your purse. Teens are finding prescription drugs wherever people they know keep them—and abusing them to get high. In fact, 70% of persons age 12 and older who abuse prescription painkillers say they get them from a relative or friend—leading to several troubling trends:
· Every day, 2500 kids age 12-17 try a painkiller for the first time.
· Prescription drugs are the drugs of choice for 12 and 13 year olds.
· Teens abuse prescription drugs more that any illicit street drug except marijuana.
What’s also disturbing is they don’t realize these drugs can be as dangerous as street drugs. So kids who would never try street drugs might feel safe abusing prescription drugs. Misperceptions about prescription drug abuse have serious consequences. In fact, drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increase more than 300% from 1995 to 2005. Now that you know prescription drugs abuse is a problem, here are ways parents can keep it from affecting their kids’ lives:
· Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access.
· Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider’s advice and dosages.
· Be a good role model by following the same rules with your own medicines
· Properly conceal and dispose of old or unused medicines in the trash
· Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.
Following these steps is a start. Let your teen know where you stand. When you talk about drugs and alcohol, include prescription drugs in the conversation.
CTCADA offers both adolescent intervention and treatment programs. Education, individual counseling, family therapy, group counseling and referral to other resources are all part of a comprehensive effort to prevent or intervene in youth alcohol and drug abuse. Call us at 254-690-4455!