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Prescription & Over the Counter Drugs

When we think of drug abuse issues, we typically think of illicit (illegal) drugs. But the truth is, licit drugs (legal for prescription) are a huge abuse issue.

Whether people start abusing them deliberately or accidentally become addicted while taking them legitimately for medical purposes, the results are the same…..devastating. Rush Limbaugh’s recent fall from the pedestal is proof of that!

Meanwhile, many people also abuse over-the-counter (OTC) products for the same abuse reasons, to get high, zone out, hallucinate, etc. And often this abuse involves the young since these products are so readily available either in the home medicine cabinet, via shoplifting or simply affordable via purchase.

What do you know about drug abuse amongst teens today? Do you know what group of kids is using drugs? Do you know where they are obtaining the drugs they are abusing?

Today drug abuse is prevalent in every socioeconomic background.

Did you know that teens don’t even need to seek out a drug dealer? The drugs that teens are abusing today are available right in your own home. The kids don’t even have to leave their homes or make an illegal purchase from a scary drug dealer.

According to a recent study by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, today’s teens are more likely to abuse prescription and over the counter medications than many illegal drugs, and teens think that abusing these medications to get high is ‘safer’ than abusing illegal drugs.

This mindset couldn’t be more frightening! Prescription and over the counter medications are safe when taken as prescribed, but when abused, can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs, or lethal.

  • Educate yourself. Learn what drugs your kids are being exposed to. Find out what websites about drug abuse is available to your kids on the internet. Monitor your child’s internet use.
  • Communicate standards about drug use to your kids. Understand that every child is vulnerable. The face of drug abuse has changed. Kids today are growing up with more pressures and uncertainties.
  • Know your child’s friends. Meet their parents. Network with other parents and get a list of addresses, phone numbers, emails so that you can keep in touch; communicate.
  • Show up early to pick up your child so you can observe their behavior.
  • Check to see that your child is where they say that they are going.
  • Have something for your teen to do after school between 3 and 6p. This is a vulnerable time for kids to get into trouble with drugs.
  • Look for empty bottles or blister packs of cough and cold products in backpacks, cars, dresser drawers, and trash cans. Be aware if your child is taking medication when they appear physically well. Be aware of missing medication from a prescription bottle. Keep narcotics in a locked cabinet.

Abuse of over the counter and prescription drugs is rapidly increasing. As parents we need to stay aware of the changing trends of drug abuse so that we can better guide our children.