Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Prescription Drug-Abusing Teens More Likely to Abuse Other Drugs

The medications in your cabinet may be much more of a temptation to your teen than the drugs that are sold on the street corner or in the schoolyard. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are often both used to achieve a “buzz” of some kind by teenagers. Why? They’re cheap or free, and they’re easy to get.

Unfortunately, they are not harmless. The extreme use of these medications often results in serious consequences ranging from future addictive behaviors to lethal overdose. As a parent, it is extraordinarily important to ensure that any prescribed medications are in a locked box or other safe storage along with cough syrups or other over-the-counter medications.

Study Results and Statistics

According to a study launched by the University of Florida–Gainesville, high school students who reported using prescription drugs recreationally were statistically much more likely to engage in other serious risk-taking behaviors as well. What defines a risk-taking behavior? The study identified a few of the most common and most dangerous:

  • Lifetime cocaine use
  • Driving drunk at school in the past 30 days
  • Binge drinking in the past 30 days
  • Smoking marijuana at school in the past 30 days

Teens who abused prescription drugs were also likely to report having had more than three sexual partners in the past three months.

During a presentation outlining their work, researchers concluded that “[o]ur findings complement the accumulating evidence suggesting that nonmedical use of prescription drugs is linked to a pattern of problem behaviors.”

Preventive Measures

Any child may fall victim to curiosity or peer pressure as they grow. It is extraordinarily important that parents put into place preventive measures to ensure that their teens do not have access to abusable or addictive medications. Kids who may not use the drug themselves may be tempted to give them to others or sell them.

Here are some tips to help ensure your child’s safety when it comes to household medications:

  • Don’t advertise the existence of medications in your home to your child.
  • Keep all medications in a locked box or cabinet.
  • Talk to your child about the physical ramifications of drug abuse.
  • Observe your child’s spending habits.
  • Pay attention to any signs of drug use or abuse.

If your son is in need of treatment to address an issue with drug or alcohol abuse of any kind, contact us at Muir Wood at the phone number listed above or download an application packet today.