October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Recent trends indicate that youth are increasingly turning to prescription or over-the-counter medications to stay alert or get high. Often, teens mistakenly believe that abusing prescription drugs is safer than other illegal drugs. In fact, according to surveys from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 20% of teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it themselves, and 5% report abusing over-the-counter cough medicine to get high. Behind only marijuana, prescription medications are the most commonly abused drugs by teens.
While prescription medications benefit many different people, for many different conditions, when used appropriately, it is important to recognize that these drugs can be easily misused or abused. This can result in serious side effects that are dangerous or even deadly. To help prevent medicine abuse:
- Talk to youth about prescription drug and over-the-counter medicine abuse. Teens who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use or abuse drugs.
- Safeguard your medications. Know what you have and how much so that you will know if anything is missing. Help family members do this as well.
- Dispose of any unused medications 24 hours per day in the front lobby of the Evanston Police Department at 1454 Elmwood Ave. For more information about the City of Evanston’s prescription drug recycling program, visit: http://www.cityofevanston.org/recycling-waste/recycling/medications-thermometers/
To learn more about how you can help to prevent prescription drug abuse in the community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-951-0109.