Be alert — there are many sites on the Internet where prescription drugs can be purchased without a prescription. For example, the ingredient in cough medicine, DXM, is also available over the Internet in powder form. Youth may also be using the Internet to learn ways of abusing and obtaining prescription drugs. A new study shows that many teens actively use the Internet to swap information about using and buying prescriptions as well as alcohol and other drugs.

Keep the computer in a public area of the home to prevent inappropriate use.

If you suspect your teen or someone you love may be misusing prescription drugs, check the computer's browser history to see if they have been visiting any sites that sell prescription drugs or give information about using drugs.

Watch the mail for non-descript packages, and check credit cards for unusual online purchases.


(1) Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2009, October). Proper disposal of prescription drugs. Retrieved February 24, 2010 from
(2) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (1999). The relationship between mental health and substance abuse among adolescents. OAS Analytic Series, 9, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 99-3286, Rockville, MD.
(3) Home Box Office. (n. a.). Co-occurring disorders. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from
(4) National Institute of Mental Health. (2006, June 26). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved July 10, 2007
(5) 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.
(6) Partnership for a Drug-Free America. (2005, April 21). Generation Rx: National study reveals new category of substance abuse emerging. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from

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