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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse - Keep Your Kids Safe

Updated on January 1, 2016

The Facts

Abuse of prescription drugs to get high has become increasingly prevalent among teens and young adults. Past year abuse of prescription pain killers now ranks second—only behind marijuana—as the Nation's most prevalent illegal drug problem.

There are three classes of prescription drugs that are most commonly abused:

Painkillers (prescribed to treat pain), including codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, and brands such as Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, OxyContin, and Percocet.

Depressants (prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), including barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and brands such as Klonopin, Nembutal, Soma, Valium, and Xanax.

Stimulants (mainly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD), including amphetamines, methylphenidate, and brands such as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

How You Can Help

The abuse of prescription drugs in teens is on the rise. They're easily accessible and parents need to take the appropriate precautions to protect their teens. If you have prescription drugs in the home that have the potential for abuse, monitor them. If you notice pills missing, talk to your kids. If you want to prevent your teen from taking them in the first place, purchase a pill case with a lock on it. There are many different types you can buy online or at your local pharmacy. My favorite is a plastic case that houses 4 entire prescription pill bottles and locks them all safely. This is the best defense against teen drug abuse in your home.

If you have relatives with a terminal illness, chances are they have prescription drugs in their home that teens are likely to abuse. If your child frequently visits a particular relative, you may want to give them a "heads up" to monitor their prescriptions or lock them up as I have suggested.

I know it sounds like I'm hinting that every teen is going to abuse drugs and steal from their relatives. That's not my intent. I just feel that the key to battling teen drug abuse is to prevent it from happening in the first place! Kids talk at school. Your teen may hear from others about a certain prescription drug they take to get high and realize it's the same one at home in your medicine cabinet. Would you store cocaine or heroin in your medicine cabinet and feel safe that it's within easy access of your children?

A Helpful Resource

Communicate with your teen about the harmful consequences of prescription drug abuse. Monitor their behavior and if you're concerned, talk to them. My parents never discussed drugs with me, but luckily I never thought to try them. I've always been too afraid! I love myself too much to take the chance of hurting my body or even killing myself by taking an illicit drug.

Have you found pills in your child's room or backpack? Unsure of what they are? Visit This site is an excellent resource for prescription drug information. They even have a handy little Pill Identifier. You enter the shape and color of the pill along with any imprint found on it (i.e. W 345) and it will tell you what medication it is and what it's used for. Priceless if you find pills in your child's room and have no idea where they came from or what they are!


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    • paypalku profile image

      paypalku 6 years ago from Yogyakarta

      Useful information. I have a daughter who is very active and sometimes often escaped from my control. By reading this article, I better understand how to treat medication for my child.

    • profile image

      alex 6 years ago

      Thanks I loved the post. It's true though. A lot of my fellow students abuse adderall

    • profile image

      Darvocet Lawsuits 6 years ago

      My son is also a victim of this darvon/darvocet faulty medicine. We were told to file a case so that we can get back what is taken by us. Now our case is still rolling in action. If you are doubtful with your medicine/s in your first aid Cabinet. Consult your doctor and ask what are pros and cons' on it.

      Thanks for sharing this Nice hub'

      Puppyluv! :)

    • Puppyluv profile image

      Serena Zehlius 6 years ago from Hanover, PA

      Thanks, Kashmir56! I really wanted to tell people about the locking pill container. I think that's something everyone should have. Not just to keep their teenagers out, but anyone that might snoop in the medicine cabinet.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Puppyluv, all great information to help keep kids drug free !

      Awesome hub !!!

    • Puppyluv profile image

      Serena Zehlius 6 years ago from Hanover, PA

      Thank you, Chatkath!

    • Puppyluv profile image

      Serena Zehlius 6 years ago from Hanover, PA

      Thanks for sharing, Amy! I know people that have become addicted after short periods of use as well. Some of it is due to the pain returning and wanting it to go away again. Some of it is psychological. For a lot of people, narcotics make them feel "good" and happy! Once the doctor says "no more" they turn to the streets. Not a good thing.. There are so many laws in place on the use of narcotics that doctors are afraid to prescribe them even for legitimate reasons. This causes a lot of people in chronic pain to find their medication elsewhere (the street).

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Fantastic Hub that everyone needs to read! Thank you PuppyLuv! Good info no doubt!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      My daughter had a car accident some years ago and suffered a (T12) compression fracture. Although it did not compromise her ability to walk, it was a long, painful, recovery that still causes her difficulty. She was given prescriptions for narcotics. She wore a backbrace for a year. The opiates prescribed cause addiction in a very short period of time. She takes them yet today, everyday, as her neck and backpain continues to impact her life and ability to work. I don't see any viable solution to her pain, as physical therapy alone has been ineffective. It is a difficult dilemma for the patient and the doctor when standard measures do not provide adequate relief, especially when the drugs that help the pain create addiction in about 2-weeks. Laws are in effect that keep a tight control on quantities making it impossible to legally acquire unlimited access to narcotics. The problem then is going to street level criminals for relief. Excellent information on a very dangerous, all too common problem today. Thank you, Puppyluv