Half a Million Teens in the US Abuse Medicine

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https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js New data from Drugfree.org show that there is a disconnect between parents’ and teens’ beliefs about medicine abuse. The organization whose goal is to help families solve the problem of teen substance abuse, asked 1,072 people their opinions, attitudes and beliefs regarding medicine abuse.  Below is the results from this survey:

  • 6% of parents of teens say they have a child who abused medicine.  However, 10% of teens admit to abusing or misusing medicine in he past 6 months.
  • 3% of parents of teens admit to giving their child/children a medication not prescribed for them.  But, 22% of teens say their parents gave them a medicine not prescribed to them.
  • When ranked in order of importance, prescription drugs and OTC cough medicines are considered below average within the context of other issues facing teens today.  Among those ranking above prescription drugs and OTC cough medicines are teen suicide, sexual predators, texting while driving and even hunger/poverty. 
  • The reality:  One in six teens has taken a prescription medication to get high.  Prescription medicines are the most commonly abused drugs among 12 and 13 year olds. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health)  Everyday 2,000 teens ages 12-17 use a prescription drug to get high or change their mood (Source: Drug Enforcement Administration).  More Americans die from drug overdoses than car crashes, a trend driven by prescription painkillers (Source: Center for Disease Control).
  • Only 25% of parents of teens think that their child can get prescription medicines easily from home. Teens think their home is the easiest place to access medications.  79% of teens say they know where their parents keep their prescription medicines.  36% of teens say it is relatively easy to get medications from home.  2/3 of teens who reported abusing prescription drugs said they get them from family/friends.
  • 75% of parents of teens say they have discussed medicine abuse with their children.  According to teens: 31% of teens have had someone talk to them about OTC medicine abuse.  34% of teens have had someone talk to them about OTC medicine abuse.   


These statistics are very startling.  If you haven’t spoken to your teen about medicine abuse it isn’t too late to start a discussion now.  Visit The Medicine Abuse Project to take the pledge to learn about teen medicine abuse, to safeguard your medicines and to talk to the teens you know about this issue. You can also  follow The Medicine Abuse Project on Twitter at @MedicineAbuse and join the conversation using #endmedicineabuse.



Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger, publisher, freelance writer, online merchant and mother of five children, living in The Pacific Northwest. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms and features several health expert writers and mom bloggers. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.

Ms. Talbert is a featured health blogger at Wellsphere.com and her articles can also be found on ezinearticles.com. She also runs the Healthy Moms Social Network on Ning, is the Chief Marketing Officer for Talbert Nutrition LLC,  and is on the Social Media Advisory Board for America’s Wellness Challenge. Follow her on Google+.

Half a Million Teens in the US Abuse Medicine
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One Response

  1. mamun mizi November 8, 2012

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