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HHS HealthBeat (August 15, 2013)

Easy Drugs

Three bottles filled with pills are next to one another.

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Prescription Drugs

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

We have an epidemic of teen abuse of prescription narcotics, and it’s partly fueled by drugs teens get in their own homes – if, for instance, a teen was prescribed the drugs.  Parents may leave the drugs available.

Researcher Paula Ross-Durow at the University of Michigan looked at data on 230 Michigan eighth- and ninth-graders who said they had been prescribed medications:

“About three quarters of those teens said that they had unsupervised access to their medications.”

Ross-Durow says parents need to dispense the meds and keep the meds locked up otherwise, so teens can’t use drugs when they’re not medically needed or sell them to other teens – and visiting teens can’t steal them.

The study in the Journal of Adolescent Health was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: August 15, 2013