Where Do Teens Find Prescription Drugs?

59% of teens who abuse prescription painkillers say they get them from home.


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The family medicine cabinet and friends are the major sources of prescription drugs taken recreationally.

Other teens may abuse their own prescription medicine. Teens also report that these drugs are not hard to find. About 40 percent of 12th graders say that painkillers are fairly or very easy to get, and more than half say the same of stimulants. Unfortunately, teens are also getting pills from the street, many of which are produced illicitly and without proper controls.

Over the counter medications:

In many parts of the country, teens can easily buy OTC cough and cold remedies at any supermarket, drugstore, or convenience store where these products are sold. They can also get them from home, or order them over the Internet. And even if they do not order OTC drugs online, they can surf the Web to find information and videos on what drugs to try and mix together.

Where should you look to make sure prescription drugs are not readily available?

At Home: A teen may scout his own home first if he's looking to get high from prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

With Relatives: Grandparents may be another source of prescription drugs for teens. In fact, 10 percent of teens say they took drugs from friends or relatives without asking.

With Friends: Talk with the parents of your teen's friends your teen has about safeguarding medications.