Prescription medication misuse occurs when medications are taken without a doctor’s prescription or used differently than directed. This includes things like a teen using a friend’s ADHD medication to study or taking extra opioid pain relievers after a dental procedure. Such misuse is concerning because the adolescent brain isn’t fully developed until about age 25, leaving kids and teens more vulnerable to addiction than adults. The dangers associated with the misuse of powerful stimulants, opioids, or depressants also include seizures, overdose, and death. Additionally, obtaining pills from unofficial sources, such as friends or social media, can pose deadly risks due to potential contamination with lethal substances like fentanyl.

To safeguard youth, it’s crucial to communicate the dangers of taking unprescribed pills and emphasize never sharing medication with others or taking pills from unfamiliar sources. Prioritize discussing mental well-being with your child, offering your support and helping them learn alternatives to cope with issues like anxiety or depression. Encourage open dialogue, role-play scenarios to reinforce refusal skills, and establish a plan for getting help from a trusted adult if they ever feel like they’re in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. By fostering a supportive environment and providing guidance on safe medication use, we can help protect our kids and teens from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Learn more and take action at!

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