"I warned him about cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and underage drinking. I never mentioned OxyContin because I didn't know it was out there."

-Joanne, mother whose son abused OxyContin.


Joanne's story about her son sheds light on a growing trend among teens in Massachusetts - misusing prescription drugs to get high.
Today, teens have easy access to prescription drugs - they are grabbing them from medicine cabinets, taking them from siblings, swapping them with friends who have prescriptions, and are using them at friends' homes and at gatherings called "pharm parties".

Studies show:

  • Most of the prescription drugs abused by teens come from family medicine cabinets and from friends.
  • Teens don't realize that prescription drugs can be deadly.

The first thing you can do to help protect your teen from prescription drug abuse is to monitor all pills and medications in your home and dispose of your unused prescriptions. Learn more on how to protect youth from prescription drug abuse.


(1) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Results from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-30, DHHS Publication No. SMA 06-4194). Rockville, MD.
(2) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2003, March 7). Trouble in the medicine chest: Rx drug abuse growing. Prevention Alert, 6(4). Retrieved July 10, 2007.
(3) United States Drug Enforcement Agency. (2008, January). Massachusetts. Retrieved February 24, 2010.

*Some names have been changed to protect privacy.

This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.