Recent studies among middle and high school aged kids across the country show a disturbing rise in the intentional abuse of otherwise beneficial medications, both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC), to get high.
Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.
Every day, 2,500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time. The average age of first time use is 13.5. They’re most often accessing these drugs from their own homes; it can be as easy as opening a cupboard, drawer or medicine cabinet.
Many people who misuse prescription drugs, particularly teens, believe these substances are safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by healthcare professionals and are dispensed by pharmacists.
What You Can Do
Because prescription drugs are legal, they are easily accessible. Parents, law enforcement, the medical community and all levels of government have a role to play in reducing prescription drug abuse. Here are some things you can do to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs:
- Follow disposal guidelines: No matter who you are, you can help address this issue in your home. By following the guidelines, you reduce the risk of unintentional diversion or harm. (To request more information on proper disposal of medications, contact email@example.com.)
- Talk to your kids: It's important that our children learn about the use and abuse of prescription drugs from the adults in their lives. For tips on having conversations with kids, visit http://timetotalk.org.
- Take advantage of community take-back programs: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is hosting its third National Take-Back Day, an effort to collect potentially dangerous, expired, misused and unwanted prescription drugs for safe destruction at thousands of sites nationwide. The service is free and anonymous and will take place on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the police stations in , and .
- Seek treatment and support individuals in recovery: If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, find a treatment center near you http://dasis3.samhsa.gov. Thousands of individuals who have struggled with addition are now living healthy and happy lives with the help of treatment and recovery services.