What Parents Can Do to Prevent Prescription Drugs Abuse

These are some of the key ways that parents can prevent their child’s abuse of prescription drugs or determine if they may already have an problem:

  • Educate yourself. Check out the various resources on this site and others to learn as much as you can about the dangers of prescription drugs.
  • Talk to your child about the extreme dangers of “Pharm” or “Skittles” parties, as early as middle school. At these parties, a bowl of prescription drugs is passed around which includes a mixture of all of the medications the party goers were able to “score” from whatever medicine cabinets they have access to. Alcohol is typically involved, too, which can make these parties even more deadly. No one has any idea what they’re taking, and neither does the ER when things go wrong!
  • Ensure your home is safe from prescription drug abuse. Lock up your drugs so your kids and their friends don’t have access to them. Drop off unused and expired drugs at a drop off site close to you.
  • Watch for the warning signs of prescription drug abuse
  • Know the warning signs of a prescription drug overdose and don’t hesitate to get help immediately if you suspect your child is in trouble.
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their parents and be on the alert for those who allow underage drinking and the use of other substances in their homes.
  • Be wary of sleepovers at your house or another parent’s home. Prescription drugs are easy to hide and can easily be used in these settings.
  • Share the information you’ve learned about prescription drugs with your children, starting when they’re in Middle School.
  • Stay closely connected with your college students. If living away from home, visit them frequently and get to know their friends and living environment. Don’t stop talking with them about the dangers of using drugs recreationally.
  • Don’t hesitate to drug test your child if you think there’s any chance they may be using prescription or illegal drugs.
  • Don’t be naive to think your child won’t get involved with prescription drugs. It happens in the best of families to the best of kids.
  • Following are ANONYMOUS resources if you need support dealing with your child’s drug problems:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) – Crisis hotline that can help with many problems, not just suicide. This includes problems due to drug use. Family and friends who are concerned about a loved one or anyone interested in mental health treatment referrals can call this Lifeline. Callers are connected with a professional nearby who will talk with them about what they’re feeling or about concerns for family and friends.

Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) – Offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment—refers callers to treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations that can provide help for their specific needs.
– findtreatment.samhsa.gov – Locate treatment centers in your state