parent examplePractical advice for talking about prescription drug abuse

As a parent, teach your teen to:

  • Respect the power of medicine and use it properly.
  • Recognize that all medicines, including prescription medications, have risks along with benefits. The risks tend to increase dramatically when medicines are abused.
  • Take responsibility for learning how to take prescription medicines safely and appropriately, and seek help at the first sign of a problem for their own or a friend’s abuse.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Speak to your teen about prescription medicines — do not presume that illegal drugs are the only threat, and remind them that taking someone else’s prescription or sharing theirs with others is illegal.
  • Encourage your teen to ask you or a doctor about the negative side effects of a prescribed medicine, how to watch for them, and what to do if a negative effect is suspected.
  • Alert your family physician that you are concerned, and ask him or her to speak to your teen about the importance of proper use of prescription medicines.
  • Keep prescription medicines in a safe place and avoid stockpiling them.
  • Promptly and properly dispose of any unused prescription medicines.
  • Provide a safe and open environment for your teen to talk about abuse issues.
  • Monitor your teen’s use of the Internet, especially for any illegal online purchases.


Inforamtion adapted from SAMHSA's Medicine Abuse Project


More Resources to Help You Start Talking



The Know! drug prevention and awareness program from Drug Free Action Alliance targets parents and caregivers of middle school students and empowers them to raise their children substance-free with a twice monthly electronic newsletter about current drug trends and other hot topics.