The reports are in: Although the percentage of teens using illegal drugs is down, the number of teens abusing prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs has reached record highs.
Drugs such as OxyContin, Ritalin, and Vicodin have become so common among today's youth that more than 15 percent of high school seniors say they've taken at least one prescription or OTC pill for nonmedical purposes within the past 12 months. And in 2005, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that more than two million teens had abused prescription drugs that year alone.
The adolescents and teenagers who use prescription or OTC medication for other than approved purposes do so for a wide range of reasons - some take the drugs recreationally to get high, while others cite sleep problems, concentration lapses, and pain as precursors to their illicit use of these substances. Regardless of what initially motivated them to take the drugs, though, youth who use prescription and OTC medications without a doctor's supervision expose themselves to considerable risks - not the least of which are arrest, addiction, and death.
This site is designed to help parents, relatives, and other concerned individuals become active participants in the fight against teen abuse of prescription and OTC drugs. The articles that are linked on the left side of this page will provide you with a wealth of information about prescription and OTC drug abuse, including ways to identify the drugs, methods of determining if your child is abusing these medications, and how you can get help.
Parenting a teenager has never been an easy proposition, and the rising popularity of prescription and OTC drug abuse makes this difficult endeavor all the more challenging. But constant vigilance and continued education remain the primary tools for raising a healthy child. Learning all you can about the emerging threat of prescription and OTC drug abuse will put you in the best position to stop your children from making the wrong choice, or get them the help they need if they have already taken their first steps down this dangerous path.