Perceptions of prescriptions

By Alyssa LaRenzie • Published: July 23rd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Childproofing your home can keep little ones out of the medicine cabinet, but keeping teenagers safe from these drugs isn’t as easy.

Teens’ top five most abused prescription drugs include sedatives, sleep aids, cough medications, stimulants and… highest on the list… narcotic pain relievers.

Parents are increasingly aware of the dangers of abusing prescription medications. But the number of teens abusing over-the-counter drugs has remained steady, according to the 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, an annual consumer study conducted by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

And although the number of parents who believe prescription medications are safer than illicit drugs has been cut nearly in half… from nineteen percent to ten… millions of teens aren’t hearing the message. In the past year, the number of teens believing this myth remains high, at forty-one percent of those surveyed.

About one in five… four-point-seven million… reported abusing a prescription medication at least once. Of this group, sixty percent of children were under the age of 15 their first time.

Only a quarter of teens said their parents warned them about abusing over-the-counter drugs. Yet Drug-Free America found that adolescents who have this talk with their parents are half as likely to abuse prescriptions.

The three steps to keeping a drug-safe home? Monitor, secure and dispose. Keep tabs on how many of each pill you have. Store medications in a safe or hidden place. And throw away unneeded prescription drugs where teens can’t find them.