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Preventing Prescription Drug Use by Teens

How to stem the tide of non-medical use of prescription drugs by teens

When children are young, parents take precautions to keep known poisons and dangerous substances away from curious little hands and mouths. Devices are purchased and installed to keep little ones out of electrical sockets and cabinets. Baby monitors are placed in infant rooms to ensure baby’s safety.

When those same young children become adolescents, parental vigilance should be just as prevalent and strong, although in other ways.

All adults who have teenagers in their home, whether they live there, or they’re just visiting, should be mindful of keeping prescription medications out of their hands.

Storing prescription medications in common areas of the home such as the kitchen or bathroom is an open invitation to anyone who comes across them.

Keep prescription medications in a safe place.  For example, your purse or glove compartment is not a safe place.

Prescription medication is only safe under the advice and guidance of a physician, and only for that person for whom the prescription was written.  Don’t offer to give, or to take from someone else, prescription medication. Doing so adds to the teen’s misguided belief that prescription medication use is safe.

Monitor your prescription medication bottles. Always return old or unused prescription medications to your local pharmacy. Talk with other family members with whom the teen visits, such as grandparents. Ask them to use the same vigilance with their medications as you do with yours.

Talk to the parents of your teenager’s friends about the topic of prescription drug misuse.

Above all, talk to your teens about the harms of using prescription drugs non-medically. An open conversation about the topic is as vital as the topics of illegal drug use, alcohol use, and sex.

By: L.L. Woodard

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