Keep Prescription Drugs Secure From Teens: Expert04/25/14
FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Teens' addiction to
prescription or over-the-counter drugs often begins when they have
easy access to medications in their homes, an expert says.
Many parents make a special effort to keep medications away from
young children to prevent accidental poisonings, but don't realize
that teens are the group most likely to misuse and abuse
medications, said Dr. Eric Collins, an addiction psychiatrist at
Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Conn.
As many as 20 percent of American teens have abused prescription
drugs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. About 50 percent of U.S. high school seniors said that
narcotic drugs other than heroin would be fairly or very easy to
get, according to a 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse
"Adolescents sometimes believe that medications prescribed by a doctor or available OTC are a medically 'safe' high, but this is just one of the tragic myths that prevail," Collins said in a hospital news release.
"This dangerous misconception, along with the easy availability of these medications, are key contributors to the prescription drug addiction crisis affecting more than 2 million American children," he added.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Drug
Take-Back Day on April 26 is a nationwide program to encourage
people to safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription
In advance of that day, Collins offered parents advice on how to
keep medications out of teenagers' hands.
Keep all prescription and, if possible, OTC medications locked
up and make sure that grandparents and other relatives do the same
in their homes, he said. It's also a good idea to have an updated,
written inventory of all prescription and OTC medications in your
Be sure to properly dispose of unused and expired medications,
he reminded. One way is to take them to your local pharmacy. Don't
pour them down the sink or flush them in the toilet because this
can contaminate the water supply, Collins said.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
prescription drug abuse.
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