Drug-seeking behavior is a huge societal problem in the midst of the opioid crisis, and the misuse of prescription drugs isn’t just limited to those who get prescriptions and then become addicts. It’s an unfortunate reality that teens and adolescents are most likely to want to raid the medicine cabinet of other household members who have potent prescription pills. What starts as curiosity and wanting to try a new pill to get high can quickly lead to addiction.
Key findings of recent research has found:
- Teens are the most likely to steal prescription drugs: Those most susceptible to want to try prescription drugs they find at home are teenagers and adolescents, because it is their most available resource to get high, and free.
- Prevalence: 11% of the high school seniors surveyed reported misusing a prescription drug that was not their own in the past year, and nearly half of that group said they had multiple sources for their pills, including family members and friends. These numbers are likely much higher, as people will typically not admit to illegal and/or unethical behaviors.
- Most-abused prescription drugs: The drugs most commonly stolen by household members, family, and friends are tranquilizers, opioids, and stimulants.
- Males versus females: Girls are more likely to use leftover prescription medications in the medicine cabinet than boys, who were most likely to get their pills from friends or buy them from others.
How Parents, Public Health Officials and Clinicians Can Curb Prescription Drug Misuse Among Teens
This new research has led experts to chime in with their ideas of how to curb prescription drug misuse, especially for alarmed parents who have prescriptions they don’t want their children getting their hands on. Experts recommend keeping pills as inaccessible as possible to other household members to avoid any negative or tragic consequences of drug misuse or potential addiction. Any drugs that have expired or are no longer needed should be safely discarded, as well.
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