What Parents Need to Know

What should I do if medicine goes missing from my medicine cabinet?

According to the PartnershipTM for Drug-Free Kids, two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances. Because medicines can be found in medicine cabinets, top of dressers, and kitchen cabinets, take steps to ensure that all medications are monitored and secured. Properly dispose of unused and expired prescriptions and Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs in your home.

Monitor - Take note of how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets. Keep track of refills. If you find you need to refill your medicine more often than expected, that could indicate a problem. Be especially vigilant with medicines that are known to be addictive. Make sure your friends and relatives are also aware of the risks.

Secure - Be proactive about securing prescriptions the same way you would other valuables in your home. Take prescription medicine out of the medicine cabinet and secure them in a place only you know about. If possible, keep all medicines in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet.

Dispose - Safely dispose of expired or unused medicine. Take an inventory of all the medicine in your home. Start by discarding expired and unused Rx and OTC medicine. Participate in a safe drug disposal program. Find the center nearest you and dispose of your medicine properly.  Or find out about upcoming drug take-back day facilitated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

If you do suspect that medicine is missing, here are some ways to get the conversation started with your family. 

I am concerned my teenage son has a drug problem. What should I do?

If you are concerned about your teen's drug or alcohol use, then it is time to take action. You can never be too safe or intervene too early. Casual or experimental drug use can quickly turn into drug abuse, dependence or addiction and can lead to accidents, legal trouble, and serious health issues. The abuse of drugs or alcohol does not mean that someone is addicted. However, if your child is abusing any drug, you want them to stop. There are certain drugs that are considered highly addictive such as opiates (oxycontin, vicodin and heroin) and stimulants.

Start by having a conversation with them to express your concern. The purpose is to address their drug or alcohol problem and lead them to help if needed. Just making it clear that you don't want them drinking or using drugs is an accomplishment.

For more information on how to structure the conversation, next steps or to look for the signs and symptoms of drug use review or download an Intervention eBook from the PartnershipTM for Drug-Free Kids.

We have a family history of addiction. Should I be concerned about my kids?

When a family member has an addiction, everyone is affected. It is important to understand how each family member may be dealing with the unhealthy behavior. Children of alcohol and drug addicted parents are in the highest risk group of all children to become alcohol and drug abusers themselves due to genetic and family environment influences.

It is important to become educated on addiction and codependency, and to talk with your children honestly about the dangers of addiction and their own risk factors. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) can provide you with guildelines on talking with your kids. Click here to learn more.