Thrives and our partner coalitions often refer to the “Lock Your Meds” campaign for materials and information about prescription drug abuse. The Lock Your Meds website has great tips for parents, information about how to dispose of unfinished drugs, as well as guidance on how to address the problem of Rx misuse in your own community. Their newest campaign, Accidental Dealer, reminds us that home medicine cabinets are often filled with unused or unfinished prescriptions that are accessible to the curious teen. According to Lock Your Meds, teens may take a pill not prescribed to them for a number of reasons, “such as wanting to “fit in,” relieve depression and anxiety, help them cope with life’s stresses, sleep better or increase their alertness and concentration power so they can do better in school. Some want to control their weight with stimulants. Others want to self-medicate to relieve pain. They want to experiment. They want to be accepted by their peers. They want to escape reality or make their reality more bearable.”

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Why should we be concerned?

  • 20,950 people died from an overdose of prescription drugs between 1999 and 2004. The 62% increase is more than cocaine and heroin combined.
  • Emergency room visits involving abuse of prescription or OTC drugs increased 21% from 2004 to 2005 and nearly half of the patients under the age of 20 had abused DXM (dextromethorphan).
  • Teen admissions to treatment facilities for addiction to prescription pain relievers increased by 300% since the mid-1990s.
  • 29% of teens in treatment were dependent on tranquilizers, sedatives, amphetamines and other stimulants. (2004)

Visit the MEDucation page for a collection of lessons on Rx Abuse!

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