A 2007 national survey of teens (1000, ages 13 to 18) and their parents (600) conducted by the Partnership with support from Abbott, uncovered startling information about the attitudes and behaviors that can contribute to teen prescription drug abuse:
- More than half of teens who reported abusing prescription medications said they got the medications in their own home (15 percent) or from a parent or relative (11 percent) or friend (24 percent).
- More than half of the teens who tried medication without a prescription believe it is safer than street drugs and there is nothing wrong with taking them once in a while.
- Partying, experimenting and relaxing are the top three reasons teens give for trying prescription drugs that aren't theirs. Additional reasons include dealing with physical pain or anxiety, trying to stay awake and getting more school work done.
- Top three reasons 27 percent of parents believe it is okay to give a teen a prescription drug that was not prescribed for that teen: getting hurt, bad menstrual cramps or problems sleeping.
"With one in five teenagers reporting abuse of a prescription medication to get high, parents must open their eyes to the dangers of this new tier of teen substance abuse," said Steve Pasierb, CEO, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. "Teens and their parents have a false sense of security, mistakenly believing it's somehow safer to abuse prescription medication than street drugs. This issue demands the immediate action of parents, both by learning the facts and safeguarding medications at home as well as talking with teens about this very real threat to their health."
The website, http://www.NotInMyHouse.com, offers insight on talking about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse with teens, helps explain how the teen brain may make them more vulnerable to addiction, details the teen drug culture and lingo and gives three simple steps parents can take to help secure their homes:
- Monitor: An inventory of prescription medications in the home can help parents know what they have and what they do not need anymore. They should count the pills left in the bottle or package after each dose. The supply should be checked regularly for missing pills.
- Secure: Prescription drugs should not be readily accessible to everyone in the house. Parents should treat prescription medicines the same way they treat other valuables in their homes. Medications should be stored in a safe and secure place for those who need them.
- Dispose: Leftover or expired prescription medications should be disposed of properly. Pills should be placed in a non-see-through container with something unpleasant mixed in, like old coffee grounds or kitty litter. The container should be sealed and put in the trash.
"Prescription medicines have an important role in health care, but they have significant risks when they are misused and abused," says Jeff Haas, general manager, Pain Care, Abbott. "Abbott and the Partnership have developed the 'Not in My House' education initiative to help teach parents the importance of securing medications in their homes to help protect their children."
THE "NOT IN MY HOUSE" EXPERTS and ADVOCATES
- Gary and Jordan Neal, father and sister of Harrison who died at 17 years of age after combining prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- Steve Pasierb, CEO of the Partnership for a Drug Free America
- Dr. Anthony Wolf, noted teen psychologist and author of numerous books on parenting teens and children
- Dr. Kathleen Brady, nationally-renowned addiction medicine specialist
About the Partnership for a Drug-Free America
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization that unites parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children. Best known for its research-based national public education programs, the Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol, and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble. The centerpiece of this effort is an online resource center at drugfree.org, featuring interactive tools that translate the latest science and research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand tips and tools.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 68,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.
Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com.