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Are your kids getting high on prescription medications in your home?

Updated on January 19, 2012

Look in your medicine cabinet. How many prescriptions or over-the-counter medications are there that your child could take to get high? If yours is like most households, there are a number of old, new and should have been discarded medications lying around. Leaving prescription medications where children can get a hold of them is no different than inadvertently dealing illegal drugs to your child or their friends.

It has been found that 4.5 million American kids have reported that they've abused prescription drugs. There are 2.1 million kids who say they have intentionally abused cough syrup. Every day there are approximately 3,000 teens who try a prescription drug to get high, most the time they find the medication in their parent's or friend's parent's bathroom.

The sad thing is teens don't see a problem with taking prescription or over-the-counter medications as being a problem. They believe it is safer than taking street or illegal drugs. It is estimated that only 31 percent of teens learn the risks of drugs from their parents. The trips to the emergency room for prescription drug use by teens are more than the number of trips made because of heroin or marijuana combined.

A survey of teenagers by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that:

  • 1 in 5 teens has tried Vicodin®, a powerful and addictive narcotic pain reliever
  • 1 in 10 has tried OxyContin®, another prescription narcotic
  • 1 in 10 has used the stimulants Ritalin® or Adderall® for nonmedical purposes
  • 1 in 11 teens has admitted to getting high on cough medicine

    Vicodin (generic name:hydrocodone), manufactured by Abbott. OxyContin (generic name:oxycodone), manufactured by Perdue Pharma LP. Ritalin (generic name:methylphenidate), manufactured by Ciba-Geigy Corp. Adderall (generic name:mixed amphetamine salts), manufactured by Shire US.

To protect your family you should do the following:

Get Involved Know what's going on with your kids' lives as they go through middle school and into high school. Make it part of your daily routine to have conversations about prescription and over-the-counter medications. Learn the facts, so you can answer any questions they may have.

Clear up the Miss-Information Getting high with prescription and over-the-counter medication is not safer than getting high with illicit street drugs.

Help Your Child Make Good DecisionsYour child is more likely to be offered drugs by a friend than a stranger, and exposure to drugs can begin as early as age 12. Your child needs the tools to make it clear to his friends or peers that it's not OK to take drugs. Rehearse statements that your child may tell others, such as "I don't take any kind of drugs because they will hurt me".

Take Control of Your Home Collect your medications from medicine cabinets, kitchen cabinets, bureau tops, or anywhere else they may be stored. Know how many you take and how many are left in the bottles if you take daily medications. The safest place to store medication would be in a locked drawer or cabinet. It may take some initial expense to make your home safe, but well worth the trouble and expense in the long run.

There is NO safe medication! All medicine, even an aspirin can have serious or even fatal side effects if taken in the wrong manner.

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