According to the NCBI, prescription drug abuse in adolescents may be linked to the misconception that drugs are “safe” when a doctor prescribes them. Teens might abuse prescription drugs for many reasons, from wanting to self-medicate to improving their physical or mental performance. Regardless of why a teen might begin abusing (or misusing) prescription drugs, it can seriously impact their life.
How to Help
If you believe a young person in your life is abusing prescription drugs (either one prescribed directly to them or those prescribed to someone else) there’s so much you can do to help them make a change or prevent abuse from starting.
If you believe someone is abusing prescription drugs you can:
Start a conversation
Learn why they were drawn to prescription drugs and have an open dialogue about other alternatives.
Keep tabs on the prescription drugs in your home
The NCBI reports that 46% of teens obtain drugs from either friends or relatives.
Set boundaries around their prescriptions and prescription drugs that may be in the home
Discuss openly with your teens why certain drugs are in the home, their appropriate uses, and the consequences of misusing a prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Properly dispose of unused or expired medications
Check out locations to safely dispose throughout Yakima County at takebackyourmeds.org for a network of local, safe, anonymous, no-judgment locations for safe dispose of unused medications, leftover prescriptions, or expired or not in use over the counter medications.
Talk to your family doctor or encourage the young person to talk to their doctor
If you are concerned about a loved one’s risk of overdose, speak to your doctor or visit stopoverdose.org to find the naloxone pharmacy or program nearest you.
The Impact of Prescription Drugs
Prescription drug misuse can have life-threatening consequences including death by overdose. Because there is a wide range of prescription drugs and how they impact the body, there are multiple negative impacts they can have on youth.
Some of the more common consequences include…
- Greater risk-taking behavior
- Poor decision making
- Mood swings
- Shifting sleep and eating habits
- Withdrawal from friends and family