prescription_report - Prescription for Danger A Report on...

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Unformatted text preview: Prescription for Danger A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation’s Teens OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT JANUARY 2008 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary 1 Rates of Prescription Drug Abuse 2 Over-the-Counter Drugs 3 A Risky Combination 3 A Dangerous High 4 Free and Easy to Find 4 Parents Are Unaware Despite Being Influential 6 Appendix: Definitions 7 Annotated Reference List 8 1 TEENS, PRESCRIPTION AND OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS National studies and published reports indicate that the abuse 1 of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to get high is a growing concern—particularly among teens—in the United States. In fact, more young people ages 12-17 abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana—more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. Prescription drugs provide benefits when used as directed under the care of a health provider. But when abused, they can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. Though overall teen drug use is down significantly nationwide in recent years, there are troubling signs that teens view abusing prescription and OTC drugs as safer than using street drugs. Of even more concern is that many parents may not be addressing the dangers with their teens, though they can have an immediate impact on curbing the supply by cutting off the access to prescription drugs in their own home and by talking to their teen about the risks of drug use. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. • • • The majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them easily and for free, primarily from friends and relatives. • • • Teens are also abusing some over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold remedies to get high, which is especially troubling given teens’ easy access to these products. • • • Many parents are not aware of teen prescription drug abuse. Teens say their parents are not discussing these dangers with them, even though research shows that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep teens from using drugs. • • • Parents are in a unique position to immediately reduce teen access to prescription drugs because they are found in the home. • • • Teens are abusing prescription drugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a “safe” high and they are easily available. • • • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of poisonings and even deaths associated with the abuse of prescription and OTC drugs. • • • The prescription drugs most commonly abused by teens are painkillers, prescribed to treat pain; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, mainly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)....
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prescription_report - Prescription for Danger A Report on...

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