Prescription Drug Abuse

We know that kids who learn about the dangers of underage drinking and substance abuse at home are 50 percent less likely to use, but research conducted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org shows that parents are not communicating the risks of prescription medicine abuse to their children as often as they talk about street drugs. While only 20% of teens say that their parents have NEVER talked with them about alcohol or illicit drugs over half say that their parents have NEVER talked with them specifically about prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. We invite you to learn the facts, talk to your kids about the risks, safeguard your medication and remember to always dispose of medications properly.

Prescription drug diversion occurs within the home to:
• Self-medicate (treat illness or injury)
• Feel good or get high
• Improve grades and enhance concentration
• Lose weight
• Reduce stress and anxiety
• Ease nervousness in a social settings
• Enhancing athletic performance
• Forgetting about problems
• Sell for profit or provide to friends/family

Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens
• Over 20% of students had taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s
prescription one or more times during their life (Youth Risk Behavior
Survey, 2011)
• 6 in 10 students agree that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from
their parents’ medicine cabinet (Partnership for a Drug Free America,
2009)

Safe Storage of Medications
• Keep track of where medications are kept
• Keep medications in the original container
• Store medications in a secure place
• Complete an inventory at least once a year
• Check expiration dates
• Look for leftover prescription drugs from a previous illness or condition

Proper Disposal of Medications
• Keep unused, unneeded or expired prescriptions in original containers
but remove or cover label
• Dissolve prescription drugs with hot water
• Mix with an undesirable substance (coffee grounds, kitty litter)
• Dispose of medications in non-descript containers (empty cans) and
seal shut
• Never flush a medication down the toilet unless the label specifically
instructs doing so
• When possible, dispose medication safely and anonymously through
local prescription drug drop boxes or at a take back day
Find a local drug collection box near you
Participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

DrugFree.org Resources
The Medicine Abuse Project has resources for: Parents & Grandparents, Health Care Providers, Educators, Communities & Law Enforcement.
Not In My House

Other Resources:
Rx Safety Matters provides a downloadable Resource Guide for Families & Communities.
PEERx is an online educational initiative that provides science-based information about teen prescription drug abuse prevention.

If a teen you know is suspected to be misusing prescription drugs, intervene by doing the following:
1. Set tighter limits around the house with clear and known consequences,
2. Regularly discuss concerns with your child – make these conversations productive by remaining calm and taking the time to listen,
3. Monitor your child’s behavior, activities, and social circle, and
4. Get outside help and support if necessary.

Finding out that your son or daughter is experimenting with alcohol can be upsetting - but if you intervene early, you’re one step closer to finding the support and resources that can help your teen and your family. The Partnership at Drug-Free.org provides a toll-free hotline for concerned adults seeking assistance. A Parent Specialist can be reached Monday through Friday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm ET at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373). Parents can also contact The Governor’s Prevention Partnership to connect you to a Regional Action Council, which can provide resources and local prevention and treatment options.