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Medicine Abuse

When you talk to your teen about the dangers of drug use, be sure to talk about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. These are harmful drugs, too. Their effects can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, meth, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and crack.

Many parents think that the abuse of prescription and OTC medications is safer than the use of illegal drugs because they're legal. The truth is if these legal drugs are not used correctly or as prescribed by the doctor, their effects are just as dangerous as the effects of illegal drugs.

Teen drug trends have changed. In a Partnership for a Drug-Free America survey, teens reported using prescription stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin, and pain relievers, like Vicodin, OxyContin, or Tylox, without a doctor's prescription. They also reported using OTC cough and cold medicines to intentionally get high and feel less stress or less depressed. In 2006, 1 in 5 teens abused prescription medicine to get high and 1 in 10 abused cough and cold medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM).

Studies show that teens who do not use drugs avoid them because they don't want to let their parents down. In addition, teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs. Sadly, only 31% of teens say they've talked to their parents about drugs. So, talk to your teen. You can be the reason why your teen stays away from drugs.