Teens and Prescription Pill Abuse Rising: What Parents Can Do

When you talk to your teen about the dangers of using drugs, which ones do you include on your list? Most people focus on illegal ones, such as marijuana and cocaine. When your child is old enough to get a learner's permit, you talk about the risk associated with drinking and driving or getting into a car with someone who has been drinking alcohol. For many parents, the growing problem of prescription pill abuse doesn't cross their mind until they are faced with a serious situation that is all too close to home.


Prescription Pill Abuse Facts and Statistics

The following prescription pill abuse facts were provided by DrugFree.org:

  • Prescription medications are the most commonly-abused drugs among 12 and 13 year-old children.
  • Teen abuse of prescription medication has increased by one-third since 2008.
  • 1 in 6 teens has used a prescription medication to change their mood or to get high.
  • 90% of addictions start during the teen years.


Easy Access to Prescription Drugs Part of the Issue

Another piece to this puzzle is that prescription and over-the counter medications are as close as the nearest medicine cabinet. Teens have access to medications prescribed for themselves, such as Ritalin for ADHD, as well as codeine and other drugs.

A "skittles party," where teens raid their parents' medicine cabinets and help themselves to whatever they find, are not uncommon. Guests place their contribution into a plastic bag and each person takes a turn putting his or her hand in to remove a few pills. No one knows what they are going to get, and every handful is different. There is no way to tell exactly what has been ingested or whether the medications will react with each other.


Teens are Unaware of the Dangers of Prescription Drugs

Young people don't appreciate the danger they are putting themselves in because prescription drugs are not seen as being as inherently "bad" as something that they would buy off the street. Addiction is addiction, whether the substance has been prescribed by a doctor or not. No matter what type of substance your child has become dependent on, he or she will need treatment from caring professional to break free from its grasp.

Teens have trouble seeing their behavior as risky. If you are concerned about your child's prescription drug use, consider a rehab center offering adventure therapy as a treatment option. This approach to treatment will foster self-confidence, while teaching the self-control techniques that a young person needs to master to learn how to live a sober life when they leave the facility.