Parents Play Critical Role in Monitoring Prescription Drugs

Some teens know where they can easily find cocaine or marijuana. They may have a friend who knows someone, or they may know other teens who can supply them at school. However, they may feel like contacting a drug dealer for a supply of drugs to get high is a big risk. They may get caught, and they may be afraid of developing an addiction.

There is an easier, more convenient way to try out getting high. The teens don’t need to contact a friend or covertly obtain drugs. They don’t need to come up with exorbitant amounts of cash or try to cover the smell of marijuana in their clothing. The easiest place to find a way to get high may be in the master suite of their own home.

A report released by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign reveals that teens are abusing prescription drugs to get high in a trend away from street drugs like cocaine and marijuana. The report points out that millions of people find relief in the benefits of prescription drugs, but the drugs can be dangerous or even lethal when used recreationally.

Although the use of illicit drugs has been in steady decline, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign is hoping that parents will grow in their awareness of this trend among teenagers to abuse prescription drugs.

According to the report, there are more new users of prescription drugs than any other illegal drug, including marijuana. In addition, teenagers are widely misusing pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin. In 2005, a third of all the new illegal users of prescriptions were between the ages of 12 and 17.

The report also revealed that girls are more likely than boys to abuse prescription drugs to get high. 57 percent of teens who abuse prescription drugs say that they are given the drugs from a relative or friend, or they take them from a relative or friend without asking. Another 10 percent buy pain relievers from a relative or friend.

The role of parents is critical in reducing the number of teens abusing prescription drugs. The report indicated that teens that are regularly supervised by their parents are less likely to use drugs. Parents must be encouraged to set clear expectations about their teens using absolutely no drugs and have regular check-in conversations with their teenagers about the risks associated with drug use.