Prescription Drug Use: Medicine Cabinets and Your Teens

Many teens believe that taking prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs.

Be AWARxE!


Prescription drugs are dangerous when they are not used correctly as directed by a doctor.
  • One in five teens have taken a prescription drug that was not theirs to get high or to deal with problems.
  • Teens are abusing pain pills (Vicodin®, OxyContin®), stimulants (Ritalin®, Adderall®), and tranquilizers (Xanax®, Valium®).
  • Teens take these drugs right out of the medicine cabinet – at home, at a friend’s house, or when visiting family.
  • 5.2 million people, including kids ages 12 and older, said they had abused prescription pain relievers, as reported in a 2007 survey.
  • More people are visiting the emergency room because they misused prescription pain medication. From 2004 to 2009, emergency room visits due to misusing narcotic pain pills increased by almost 100%.
Learn more at AWARE RX.

Fact:Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house.  In an effort to help stop this growing problem, the DEA is hosting a Take-Back Day on April 28, 2012. If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28.

The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

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