Prescription drug abuse is more common than you think. In fact, prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. In New Hampshire 20% of teens have abused prescription drugs. And over the last ten years prescription drug abuse in New Hampshire has risen 200%. According to the NH Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, in 2009 more NH citizens died from drug overdoses (164) than car accidents (110).
Here you will find the most up-to-date information on prescription drug abuse and easy steps you can take as a parent to help protect your teen from it. Topics covered include:
- Most of the prescription drugs abused by teens come from family medicine cabinets and from friends.
- 6 out of 10 teens who have abused prescription painkillers did so before age 15.
- 4 out of 10 teens believe that getting high on prescription medications is not dangerous because they are doctor prescribed.
- Keep your prescription drugs in a locked or secure place, monitor your medicine cabinet and keep track of how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles.
- If your children take prescription drugs, keep control of the bottles. Talk to your school nurse about monitoring and giving your teen their medication during the school day.
- Educate your children about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs and tell them that sharing prescription drugs is illegal.
- Be alert – Monitor Internet use in your home. There are many sites on the Internet where prescription drugs can be purchased without a prescription.
- Don’t keep unneeded medications in your home. And properly dispose of your unused prescription drugs. Find out how to safely dispose of your unused prescription drugs.
- Physical and dangerous side effects can occur like, changes in breathing that can lead to death.
- Repeated use can lead to addiction. The body adapts to the presence of the prescription drug and withdrawal symptoms can occur when use is reduced abruptly.
- Severe symptoms when use is stopped include: restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and involuntary leg movements.
- You will notice negative changes in your teen’s social, emotional and family life.
Download “Watch your Medicine Cabinet!” a helpful fact sheet with additional tips on how you can protect your teens from prescription drug abuse.
- Your teen has drugs (like pills) for unlikely reasons.
- You notice prescription drugs are missing.
- Your teen visits websites where he or she can purchase drugs or learn about drug use.
- You notice changes in your teen’s social behavior.
If you think your child may have a problem visit Get Help.
The most important step in prevention is keeping informed. There are a number of titles available to assist you to help protect your children from prescription drugs.
The Misuse of Ritalin (Fact Sheet) -- For parents of children prescribed Ritalin
Watch your Medicine Cabinet! (Fact Sheet) -- For parents
Cough & Cold Medication can be abused! (Fact sheet) -- For parents
Dispose of your unneeded medication (Fact sheet) -- For general public
- Do you know where your drugs are? (Fact Sheet) -- For parents
- Prescription and Over-The-Counter Drug Guide (Pamphlet)
Additional titles on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are available, free to all New Hampshire residents and may be requested by phone, fax or e-mail. For a listing of popular and new titles click here.
Toll Free: 800-804-0909, press 2
Dispose of your unneeded medications by following these six steps.
- Never flush medication down the toilet unless the product information says it is safe to do so.
- Pour medicine into a sealable plastic bag.
- If the medicine is a solid, add a small amount of water to dissolve it.
- Add any undesirable substance (such as dirt, coffee grounds or kitty litter) to the liquid medicine in the plastic bag.
- Seal the bag and immediately dispose of it in the trash for regular pick-up.
- Use marker to black out any personal contact information on the empty medicine container prior to disposing of it in the trash
- Visit, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for help or assistance with safely disposing of prescription medicines or attend the events listed belo
Other Helpful Resources: