•           12 to 17-year-olds abuse prescription drugs more than they abuse ecstasy, crack/cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined.
  •           60% of teens who have abused prescription painkillers did so before age 15.
  •          There are as many new abusers age 12 to 17 of prescription drugs as there are of marijuana.
  •           Only one-third of parents discuss the risks of abusing prescription medicines with their teens.
  •          Yet, kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs.

Opiate addiction is an epidemic causing more deaths among teens than car crashes. Every day, 2,500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time, and most do not realize how addictive it is! They’re accessing these drugs in the comfort of home; it can be as easy as opening a cupboard, drawer, or medicine cabinet. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help protect your kids from prescription drug abuse.

*Keep track of your refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for other members of the household. You may have a problem, if you find the need to refill your medication more often than expected.

*Keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter in a place that only you or your spouse can access.

*If your teen has been prescribed a drug, be sure you monitor dosages and refills.

*Make sure your friends and relatives, especially grandparents, are aware of the risks. Encourage them to monitor their own medicine cabinets. If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families about safeguarding medications.

*Take an inventory of all of the prescription drugs in your home. Start by discarding expired or unused prescription drugs, when your teens are not home.

*Unbelievable though it may seem, teenagers will retrieve discarded prescription drugs from the trash. To help prevent this from happening, mix the medication with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds. Put the mixture into an empty can or bag and discard. (Unless the directions on the packaging say otherwise, do not flush medication down the drain or toilet.)

*To help prevent unauthorized refills and to protect your and your family’s privacy, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles and pill packages before you throw them away.