Monitor your child's prescription for ADHD medication or other drugs

It is not unusual for a middle or high school student to know someone with a prescription for a controlled substance. Medications for ADHD are some of the most widely used prescription drugs in schools. Youth with ADHD are often approached by others wanting to trade or buy Ritalin. Youth with painful sports
injuries may be prescribed OxyContin, Percodan, or Percocet for a brief time. Still other youth with serious emotional problems or those undergoing traumatic
stress may have prescriptions for medications that are commonly abused.

If your adolescent/young adult is given a prescription for a controlled substance:

  • Make sure your doctor fully explains the possible side effects of any controlled substance; read the literature accompanying the prescription, and discuss with your teen the importance of properly following the guidelines for use.
  • Do not give the bottle of pills to an adolescent. Monitor the use of the prescription yourself. Keep track of the number of pills being used.
  • Be sure your child understands the laws regarding sharing or selling prescription medication. It is against the law to share a prescription. If another person's prescription is found in your child's possession or in their locker, they can be charged with criminal possession.
  • Do not allow adolescents to bring ADHD medication or other medicines to school. If medication must be taken during the day, it should be distributed by a school nurse who will require the prescription bottle with a note from the doctor. In most cases, a violation of school policy could lead to a suspension.
  • Ask your doctor for a time-release version of the drug. Give medication in the morning before school and keep the prescription at home.


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