Facts about Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

Teenage abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise.  According to the Drug Use and Health 2006 national survey, prescription abuse is more common than all illegal drugs combined (excluding marijuana).  These highly addictive drugs have teens under the impression that they are safer than illicit drugs, which makes them that much more appealing.

“Nationally, 3.2 million teens, or one in five, admit to abusing prescription medication at least once.  Without teen education, these numbers are expected to increase.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse has designated November 8-14 as National Drug Facts Week; a health observance week for teens.”

A lot of teens think that because these drugs come from a doctor that they are safer than drugs that come off the streets, however that is not true.  Here are some myths and facts about prescription drug abuse…

1. Prescriptions come from a doctor, so they are safe. FALSE!

Just because it comes from a doctor, does not mean it is safe.  You must have a prescription in order to get medication because they are more powerful than over-the-counter meds.  Each dose must be properly monitored in order to avoid problems and complications.

Street drugs are more addictive that prescription drugs. FALSE!

Some prescription drugs have higher risk of addiction- that’s why they need to be monitored by doctors and are only prescribed for specific amounts of time.


  1. Physical Effects- Prescription meds are highly addictive and the prolonged use can result in uncontrollable bodily functions; such as thirst, frequent urination, rashes, diarrhea, and even death.
  1. Social Effects- because the physical effects take such a toll it can cause someone to detach from normal activities, become less motivated, not care about their appearance or reputation, and lose touch with friends and family.
  1. Legal Effects- Being charged with procession or sales of prescription drugs can effect your reputation and background; and for someone charged at a young age, that can follow you for the rest of your life.

“Our society has become so accustomed to taking prescription pills to cure whatever ails them, that many people, both teens and adults, believe these medications are less harmful.  Teens particularly have no fear experimenting with prescription medications,” said Sanford Silverman, MD, a pain & addiction specialist and President-elect of the Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (FSIPP). “As a result our medicine cabinets have inadvertently become the neighborhood drug source.”