The United States has been battling a prescription drug abuse problem that is of epidemic proportions, especially among teens. A recent survey showed that almost 25 percent of high school students have abused prescription drugs in the past.
A good portion of the teens said that they experimented with prescription drugs before they were 14 years old. An even higher amount of these kids said that they believe prescription drug abuse is not as dangerous as abusing illicit drugs.
The problem is getting worse. The reason is that both teens and parents have a false understanding of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. They believe it is safer and can be controlled. Some people think abusing prescription drugs is safer than abusing certain illegal drugs, like cocaine. This is simply not true.
The real problem comes in when both teens and their parents think it is fine to take prescription medications that were never prescribed for them. Something else that is perplexing is that when it comes time for parents to have "the talk" with their kids about drug and alcohol abuse; most parents talk about the illicit drugs only and never mention prescription drugs at all.
The home medicine cabinet is the primary source of more than half of the drugs that these teens are abusing. About 50 percent of parents surveyed said they have not made any attempts to prevent access to prescriptions in their house. Around 20 percent of the parents surveyed said that they would give their teen a prescription for something, even if there was no prescription for them.
Parents must intercede and they know what signs to watch out for.