Preventing Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse
Children whose parents talk to them about the dangers of drug abuse are half as likely to abuse drugs. It is important to know how prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs could be abused. Prescription and OTC drugs that are abused or used for non-medical reasons can be very dangerous, even deadly.
Prescription Drug Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription drug use remains high. Non-medical use of prescription medication peaked this year among high school seniors: 15.4% reported use of at least one medication within the past year.
Tips for Parents:
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. These drugs are readily available. Teens who wouldn't otherwise take illicit (street) drugs might abuse prescription drugs because they believe these drugs are a safe way to get high.
- Properly conceal and dispose of old or unused medicines in the trash. Unused prescription drugs should be hidden and thrown away in the trash. You can mix them in a bag with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or another gross substance to prevent teens and others from taking them out of the trash. Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because the chemicals can pollute the water supply. Also, remove any personal, information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.
- Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well. Make sure your friends, relatives, and especially grandparents, know about the risks and encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets. If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of safeguarding medications. If you don't know the parents of your child's friends, then make an effort to get to know them. Also get on the same page about rules and expectations for use of all drugs, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Follow up with your teen's school to find out what they are doing to address issues of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.
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