Prescription and over- the-counter medications are legal products that should be used only as directed.
Read: Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Misuse Medicine
Unfortunately, many teens are using them to get high. In 2021, about 497,000 young people between 12 and 17 misused prescription pain relievers within the past year, according to a national survey. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), SAMHSA, 2021) This represents a drop in about 200,000 from 2018.
Prescription Drug Misuse
A prescription drug is a drug that is available only with authorization from a healthcare practitioner or a pharmacist. The most misused prescription drugs fall under three categories:
Medications that relieve pain such as Vicodin®, OxyContin®, or codeine.
Substances that can slow brain activity such as benzodiazepines used to relieve anxiety or help someone sleep, like Valium® or Xanax®.
Substances that increase attention and alertness and are used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall® or Ritalin®.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a prescription. They are safe and effective when you follow the directions on the label and as directed by your health care professional. Read more about using over-the-counter medication safely.
Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Misuse Medicine (DEA)
See photos of various prescription medication below:
(Pictured: Lortab®, Oxycontin®, Vicodin®, Actiq®)
(Pictured: Ritalin®, Adipex®, Dexedrine®, Focalin®)
(Pictured: Ativan®, Restoril®, Xanax®, Xanax XR®, Valium®)