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Talk, Lock and Connect to Protect Your Children from Prescription Drug Misuse

An estimated 200 million pounds of unused prescriptions are gathering dust in American medicine cabinets, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association. The problem is, those seemingly harmless leftovers can end up in the wrong hands and, in extreme cases, lead to an overdose.

  • Nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses involving painkillers.***
  • In 2010, one in 20 people aged 12+ reported using prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons in the past year.***
  • A 2012 national study found that one in four teens believes prescription drugs can be used as a study aid.**
  • Parent vigilance can help prevent teen prescription misuse, but teens reported that only 16% discussed abuse of prescription pain relievers, and only 14% of teens have discussed any prescription drug abuse.**
  • 56% of teens indicate it is easy to get prescription drugs from their parent’s medicine cabinet, and 49% say anyone can access their medicine cabinet.***
  • More than four in 10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug found the drug in their parent’s medicine cabinet, while almost half of teens who misuse or abuse prescriptions got them from a friend.**
  • Teens are more likely to have abused prescription medicines than other substances such as Ecstasy, cocaine or inhalants.**
  • The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that fewer than one in 20 users received pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger, while approximately 54% got pain relievers from a friend or relative.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) TakeBack initiative, involving local officials, collected 28,084 pounds of unused or expired prescription medications from Iowa communities between Sept. 2010 and April 2013. Nationwide, the effort totaled 1,390 tons of prescription drugs collected.

Talk to your children about the consequences of prescription drug misuse. Lock up or store medicines in a safe place. Connect with the Iowa Substance Abuse Awareness Center to get more information.

**Partnership Attitude Tracking Survey
***Centers for Disease Control

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