Prescription drug abuse

When parents talk of drug abuse, they often mention marijuana, heroin or meth. But did you know that one of the common forms of drug abuse is in your medicine cabinet already?

Prescription drug abuse often flies under the radar of parents. But abuse of presciption pain medicine, stimulants, anti-anxiety drugs and other pharmaceuticals is a real issue. What’s worse, we are letting it happen.

Shasta County students who have abused prescription drugs say that most of the time they get their drugs for free, just by visiting their parents’ medicine cabinet. They are also picking up these drugs from the cabinets at other family and friends’ homes. (California Healthy Kids Survey, 2010)

Of course, these drugs are safe when prescribed by a physician for a medical condition. But when teens try pills, that safety goes out the window. There is no regard for the size of the patient, the other medical conditions or potential side effects.

What is a parent to do?

First, make sure your prescription medicine is in a safe location. A medicine cabinet in the bathroom – available to all – is not safe.

Also make sure that you keep your medications cleared out and up to date. Holding on to a bottle of pain pills from that surgery you had two years ago is just asking for trouble.

And talk with your children. Make sure they know that any medication can be abused and dangerous.