Prescription drugs continue to be attractive to teens as they are often more easily acquired. These drugs are being abused by teens as they often deliver the same euphoria as illegal drugs without the cost. Now, studies show that roughly one in five teens are intentionally abusing prescription drugs and about one in 10 report using cough medicine to get high.
The Statesman Journal highlights the fact that teens are not just making an error in medication or dose – this use is intentional. The drugs are not only available in home medicine cabinets, they can also be easily purchased on the Internet.
Even more alarming is the fact that teens are learning more about the possibilities associated with these drugs through television advertisements. The Internet also provides a wealth of information regarding the use and mixing of these drugs for a “personalized effect”. Unfortunately, since these drugs have a medical use, teens often believe that they are less risky than illegal drugs.
As the use and abuse of these drugs are life-threatening, the risks must be reduced. Parents can help to reduce the risks by setting clear expectations, maintaining an inventory of the prescription drugs in the home, monitoring Internet use, and keeping the line of communication open by talking to their kids about the risks of abusing prescription or OTC drugs.
The misinformation that surrounds the use and abuse of prescription drugs certainly lends to the growing problem. Whether it is parents not understanding the risk or teens assuming they cannot be hurt, the misinformation can lead to death. Proper education on both sides can go a long way to eliminating the risk for a teen within the home.