Talk to your adolescent about the dangers of prescription drug abuse

Young people who learn about the risks from their parents are much less likely to try drugs. Look for opportunities to discuss the dangers of over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs.

  • Ask your adolescent what he or she has heard about prescription drug abuse. Explain that, like any drug, prescription drugs can cause serious problems like addiction if they are misused. They are safe only for the person for whom they were prescribed, and when taken as prescribed.
  • Explain that OxyContin, Vicodin and other prescription painkillers are addictive and can lead to heroin use.
  • When your adolescent has a cold, explain that many cough medicines contain an ingredient called DXM. Explain how taking too much DXM can cause hallucinations, addiction, blurred vision, and other health problems. It should be used only when you need it for a cold and only according to directions.

Don't imply that all youth are misusing prescription drugs. If youth perceive that prescription drug abuse is common, they are more likely to think it's normal to misuse them.

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