Raising a healthy teen begins with having healthy conversations.
Safety Is Top Priority
Teenagers often think that prescription medications are somehow safer than other drugs. But no matter how seemly safe, any medication can be dangerous if taken incorrectly or abused.
Prescription drugs – opioid pain relievers (Vicodin or Norco), stimulants (Adderall or Ritalin), and depressants – affect the brain and can change the way it works. Drugs can change the reward system, making it more difficult for young people to feel good without taking the drug, leading to physical dependence and addiction.
Why Is Using Prescription Drugs So Risky?
Adolescent brains are wired differently and what adolescents do now affects the rest of their lives.
Teens can become dependent and develop a tolerance when they use drugs of any kind, needing a larger dose to get the same effects. When they stop using the drug, they can go through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Teens continue using drugs even though the misuse causes distress in their lives. Once they’ve escalated to addiction, then finding and using drugs becomes more important than their family, friends, sports, or health.
What Can I Do as a Parent?
– 3 in 5 teens say prescription drugs are easy to get from their parent’s medicine cabinet. Closely monitor all medications and store them in a safe place.
– Teen addictions can start after being prescribed a pain medication for a sports-related injury or oral surgery. Discuss pain management options with your health care provider and exercise caution when your teen is taking any prescription medication.
– To safely dispose of unwanted medications, locate a community drop box, or in Orange County, California, you can mix them with dirt, kitty litter, or coffee grounds, then place in a sealed container and put in your trash. Just to be safe, check with your local municipality for their guidelines on how to dispose of unwanted medications.
Download facts and tips to talk with your teen about prescription medication
Download the prescription safety information sheet
3 Key Takeaways
- Talk with your teens about healthier ways – than misusing prescription drugs – to deal with stress, anxiety, pain, academic pressure, and unhappiness.
- Studies have shown that 68% of people who start abusing opioids do so by obtaining them from a friend or relative, often without asking.
- Many young people misuse the addictive stimulant Adderall™ because it boosts physical and mental performance. Other commonly abused medications range from cough and cold syrups to OxyContin™, Vicodin™, Xanax™, Valium™, Fentanyl™, Opana™, Concerta™, Ritalin™, and Prozac™.
Good to Know – Xanax™ is the medication most likely to be misused by a stressed teen. Reduce your teen’s chance of misusing drugs by talking to them about their everyday stressors. To learn more click here