Alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use among adolescents may have declined over the past decade, but at least one abuse risk is on the rise: the prescription pill bottle. That’s because more children are using painkillers, drugs for ADHA (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), antidepressants, and tranquilizers and sleep aids to get high.
One in five adolescents in grades 7 to 12 intentionally abused prescription drugs, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free America study. Children assume pharmaceuticals are safe because they’re medicine. But prescription drugs can be just as addictive and deadly as street drugs and are easier to obtain.
The top three ways teenagers report getting pills are through parents’ and friends’ medicine cabinets, someone else’ medications and online sites that don’t require a doctor’s prescription.
Signs of abuse include extreme changes in behavior and a dramatic decline in grades.
So be sure to limit access to medicines by disposing of drugs you’re not using, keeping prescriptions out of easily accessible areas, and monitoring the Web sites your adolescent visits.
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