Rx & OTC Drugs: Another Risk Some Teens Take

The number of Narragansett teens who report using prescription (Rx) or over-the-counter medicine (OTC) for non-medical reasons is significantly smaller than the teens who report using marijuana and alcohol. That’s good news. But 9% of NHS students did report using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes during the past 30 days, according to the most recent Narragansett Youth Survey (2013), which exposes those teens to physical, neurological, and emotional harm.

Prevention Tips for Parents

When you talk to your teens, keep in mind that many teens, users or not, have the dangerous misperception that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor. We need to correct that misperception! Here are some prevention tips shown to protect kids from the harms associated with non-medical use of Rx and OTC drugs:

Educate yourself and your teens. Check out the resources for parents and teens below. Knowing the facts is a great protective factor that reduces the risk of Rx drug abuse.
Set rules about your child's prescription medications. Let your teen know that it's not OK to share medications with others — or to take medications prescribed for others. Importantly, it is school policy in Narragansett that if your teen needs to take prescription drugs during the school day, they must be stored and administered by the school nurse. Teens should not carry Rx drugs on their person nor leave them in their lockers. It’s not a matter of “trust.” It’s a health and safety precaution!
Safeguard your medicine. Most teens who report non-medical use of Rx drugs say they get them from family medicine cabinets – or those of grandparents and friends. You can eliminate that source. Keep prescription medicine in a secure place, count and monitor the number of pills you have and lock them up — and ask your friends and family members to do the same.
Properly dispose of medications. Narragansett has a MedReturn Dropbox located at the town police headquarters. Safely deposit unused Rx drugs, 24/7, no questions asked. You’ll make sure your medicine cabinet isn’t a source of drugs for teens.

Adderall and Ritalin: Caution

The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study, an annual survey tracking teen drug abuse, shows an increase among high school seniors who abuse drugs typically prescribed for ADHD. They’re taking these drugs as “study aids.” In focus groups, Narragansett teens also report a similar increase in Narragansett in 2015. Check out -- and share with your teen -- the consequences of non-medical use of ADHD drugs at drugbuse.com. Click here

Resources for Parents and Teens: The more we know, the better. Click Here

Dispose Meds Safely 24/7

Use the free, secure Dropbox at the Narragansett Police Station.