Okay, Mom and Dad. We know you get it; you’ve read some of the stories, you know prescription drug abuse is scary and happening right here in your Montana town. These statistics put a finer point on it:
- Almost one in 10 — 9.6 percent — of Montana teens aged 12 to 17 have reported abusing prescription pain relievers. That is the third-highest rate for teens in the country. 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
- More than 18 percent of Montana’s middle school and high school students report abusing prescription drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin. By the time they reach the twelfth-grade, almost 23 percent have abused these drugs. 2011 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
- Your middle-schooler is not too young to be exposed. Nationwide, prescription drugs are the drug of choice for 12 to 13 year-olds. 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
- You’d be heartsick if your teen started using meth or heroin. Actually, prescription drugs are easier to get. According to the Partnership For a Drug-Free America study, 56 percent of teens agree that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs. 2008 Prescription for Danger (PDF)
- There’s no waiting around, either. A Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse study found that 35 percent of teens report that they can get prescription drugs to abuse within one day. 2009 National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents (PDF)
- Most of us are dropping the ball. Some 78 percent of kids have had conversations with their parents about the dangers of using beer and marijuana. Only 24 percent have had those conversations about prescription drugs. 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey: Teens
Where are they getting this stuff? Here’s some sobering news: Most abusers of prescription drugs get their drugs from friends and relatives – and they get them for free. Take a look:
- 1. ESTABLISH RULES including using medicines as directed and not sharing prescriptions. Make sure kids understand that medicine used the right way can heal people, but medicine used the wrong way can kill.
- 2. Be a good ROLE MODEL. Follow the same rules with your own prescriptions.
- 3. SAFEGUARD and MONITOR quantities of all your drugs at home.
- 4. Properly DISPOSE of old or unused medicines. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the best method to get rid of each drug, or see the Drug Disposal tips.
- 5. REMIND friends and family to safeguard their medications.
If you are not sure how to talk with your teen about drug abuse, visit Time To Talk for more tips.