New survey results from The Partnership at Drugfree.org confirm that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription (Rx) drug at least once in their lifetime, a 33 percent increase over the past five years. Additionally, one in eight teens (13 percent) report that they have taken the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall when it was not prescribed for them, at least once in their lifetime.
More than a quarter of teens (27 percent) mistakenly believe that “misusing and abusing prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs” and one-third of teens (33 percent) say they believe “it’s OK to use prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain.”
It appears parents are contributing to this sustained trend in teen medicine abuse. In fact, nearly one-third of parents say they believe Rx stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, normally prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve a teen’s academic performance, even if the teen does not have ADHD.
Teens reported that during the last conversation they had with their parents regarding substance abuse, only 16 percent discussed the misuse or abuse of prescription pain relievers with their parents, and just 14 percent indicate the same for discussions about any type of prescription drug.
In comparison, a majority of teens (81 percent) say they have discussed the risks of marijuana use with their parents, 80 percent have discussed alcohol and nearly one-third of teens (30 percent) have discussed crack/cocaine.