Prescription Drugs


51% percent of Canadian homes contain medications that can be abused.

Only 11 % of those keep them in a safe place.

(DFK tracking study - Oct 2016)



You know your teens will take your things without asking, but what if they took your prescription pills too?

Unfortunately, it happens every day in Canadian homes. Thousands of teens take prescription drugs not prescribed to them, without asking. Our 2016 campaign entitled "Teen Takers", shows how a simple and common behaviour among teens can have serious consequences.

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Know which prescription medications are most at risk.

Being familiar with the types of medications that may be more popular with teens will help you identify which prescriptions are a potential risk.

Below are the details of the three most commonly abused medications.

Opioid Painkillers




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Here are some things you can do right now to keep your prescription and over the counter medications out of the wrong hands:

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Secure your meds with a Medication Lockbox

This Medication Lockbox will help you keep your meds out of the wrong hands, and you’ll be contributing to Drug Free Kids.

$10 of the purchase of this Medication Lockbox goes towards the important work that Drug Free Kids does for youth drug prevention in Canada.

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Click here to purchase a Medication Lockbox 

Take back your old prescriptions

Our National Drug Take Back initiative is in partnership with several pharmacies across the county.  The aim is to increase public awareness about the importance of taking back unused and expired medications for safe disposal by pharmacies.

Bringing old medicines back keeps drugs off the streets, out of the hands of kids and out of our water supply!

  • Opioids/ Painkillers


    Opioid drugs act by effectively changing the way a person experiences pain.

    Commonly referred to as painkillers, Opioids are drugs that contain opium or are derived from and imitate opium. They are prescribed for pain relief and are only available by prescription.

    Most opioid or painkilling drug prescriptions are non-refillable and, when used properly under a medical doctor’s supervision, are safe and effective.

    Morphine derivatives, or narcotics, come from opioids and are used to therapeutically treat pain, suppress coughing, alleviate diarrhea, and induce anesthesia. When using these narcotics, abusers experience a general sense of well-being by reduced tension, anxiety, and aggression.

    Although painkillers have different potencies and are taken in different ways, when they are abused they all pose a risk for addiction and other serious effects.


    Examples of Opioid Painkillers
    Street or Slang Terms for Painkillers

    Opioid painkillers are the prescription drugs most commonly abused by teens
    Signs and Symptoms of Painkiller Abuse
    Potentially dangerous Drug Interactions
    Signs of Opioid Overdose

    Our Get Help section offers links to a variety of resources to help you and your family find the right kind of help for opioid dependency or addiction.




    Fentanyl is a highly potent prescription painkiller that is linked to an increasing number of deaths in this country.

    Many of these overdoses are linked to pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl that is diverted onto the streets and consumed unknowingly by those with addictions and recreational users alike.  However, illicit fentanyl produced in clandestine labs is also responsible for causing overdose deaths. 

    Click here for more on illicit fentanyl


    Fentanyl is 40 times more powerful than Heroin and 50 to 100 times potent than morphine
    Deaths involving Fentanyl


    street fentanyl

    Fentanyl on the Street
    Signs of Fentanyl overdose

    Our Get Help section offers links to a variety of resources to help you and your family find the right kind of help for fentanyl abuse.


  • Sedatives/Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants


    Prescription sedatives are central nervous system (CNS)depressants, meaning that they depress or slow down the body’s functions.

    These medications are mainly used to relieve anxiety and assist with sleep problems. Other medical uses include inducing sedation for surgical and other medical procedures, treatment of alcohol withdrawal, seizure control and relaxation of skeletal muscles.

    Often referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, CNS depressants are substances that can slow normal brain function. Most CNS depressants reduce brain function through a neurotransmitter called gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that enables communication between brain cells.

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    Prescription sedatives and CNS depressants are usually taken in pill form; however, some are available as suppositories or prepared as a solution for injection.

    Sedatives are often prescribed by doctors to treat a variety of health conditions including anxiety and panic attacks, tension, acute stress reactions and sleep disorders. When given in high doses, sedatives may act as anesthesia. Sedatives have the potential for abuse and should be used only as prescribed.

    Examples of Depressants
    Street or Slang Terms for Sedatives


    Abuse of Sedatives
    Are Teens Abusing Sedatives?
    Signs and Symptoms of Sedative Abuse
    Withdrawal from Sedatives
    Potentially dangerous Drug and Alcohol interactions with Sedatives
    Signs of Sedative overdose

    Our Get Help section offers links to a variety of resources to help you and your family find the right kind of help for sedative dependency or addiction.


  • Stimulants


    Stimulants are a broad category of substances that act to increase the level of activity of the central nervous system. Stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.


    The category includes commonly used substances such as caffeine and nicotine, over-the-counter decongestants, (e.g., pseudoephedrines like Sudafed TM), illegal drugs (e.g., cocaine, methamphetamine), and prescription medications.

    The most common use of prescription stimulants is to treat individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prescription stimulants are also prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as asthma, respiratory problems, obesity, and the treatment of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders.

    Examples of Stimulants
    Street or Slang Terms for Stimulants

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    Stimulant Abuse by teens
    Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse
    Withdrawal from Stimulants
    Potentially dangerous Drug and Alcohol Interactions with Stimulants
    Signs of Stimulant overdose

    Our Get Help section offers links to a variety of resources to help you and your family find the right kind of help for sedative or depressant dependency or addiction.