Take Action: Teens

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How Much Do You Know About Prescription Drug Abuse?

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem among teens.

Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, many teens have misused or abused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.

Many teens mistakenly believe that because they are prescribed by doctors, taking prescription drugs to get high is safer than taking illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

Teens abuse prescription medications for many different reasons. Some take these drugs to get "high," to help deal with stress and anxiety, and to relieve pain. Others abuse ADHD medications to help them concentrate and feel more focused while studying.

Abusing or misusing prescription drugs for ANY reason is unsafe and potentially dangerous to your well-being.

You could stop breathing, have a seizure or a heart attack, end up in a coma or even have a stroke. And a stroke can leave you paralyzed and affect your ability to speak. In some instances, abusing prescription drugs can even be deadly. Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol is even more dangerous.

Below are some tips to keep you informed and help you take action.

Get the Facts

The more you know about the risks of abusing prescription drugs, the better able you will be to make smart choices.

Talk to Your Parents

Even if it feels weird or awkward, talk to your parents. They love you and want to be there for you. Don't be afraid to start a conversation with them or ask questions — no matter what you've already done. Start the conversation today, and let them know that you need their support without their judgment. Together with your parents, you can work through the problem.

Manage Stress

At some point in their lives, most people feel stressed and go through difficult times. Some individuals mistakenly believe they can manage stress and feel better by abusing prescription medications. The reality is — prescription drug abuse is not a healthy way to manage stress. It's important to speak with a trained health professional if you need help managing stress. He or she can provide guidance and recommend safe and effective stress reduction strategies.

Help a Friend

It's hard to watch friends make bad choices and start a conversation with them about their behavior. If you know someone who might have a problem with prescription drug abuse you can begin the conversation and get them help.

Get More Information

Above the Influence

Medicine Abuse Project

National Institute on Drug Abuse Teens.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)