With prescription drug misuse and abuse by teenagers on the rise, it is a good time for parents to clean out the home medicine cabinets and dispose of the unused drugs at local sites participating in the national Drug Take Back Day Saturday, April 27.
The event, held several times a year, is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at many police departments here and around the country.
Locally, drop off sites include the Maitland Police Department, 1837 Fennell St., Maitland, FL 32751 and the Winter Park Police Department (WPPD) (in the lobby of the Public Safety Building) 500 N. Virginia Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789. The WPPD Prescription Reclamation Station is open year round because of the success of previous Drug Take Back events.
Other sites can be located by clicking here. Other drop off locations are continuing to be added.
Statistics on teen abuse of prescription drugs were released on Tuesday by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation.
According to a release from the organization, one in four teens (24 percent) reports having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime (up from 18 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2012), which translates to about five million teens. That is a 33 percent increase over a five-year period.
Almost one in four teens (23 percent) say their parents don’t care as much if they are caught using Rx drugs without a doctor’s prescription, compared to getting caught with illegal drugs, the release continued.
More than a quarter of teens (27 percent) mistakenly believe that misusing and abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs. And, one-third of teens (33 percent) say they believe “it’s okay to use prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain,” the release said.
“These data make it very clear: the problem is real, the threat immediate and the situation is not poised to get better,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “Parents fear drugs like cocaine or heroin and want to protect their kids. But the truth is that when misused and abused, medicines – especially stimulants and opioids – can be every bit as dangerous and harmful as those illicit street drugs. Medicine abuse is one of the most significant and preventable adolescent health problems facing our families today.”
“Parents need to be very clear in the messages they send their kids about the misuse and abuse of prescription medications,” said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “It is important for parents and caregivers to set a good example in their own families. This includes using their own medicines properly, safeguarding medications in their own homes and properly disposing of unused medicines so teens won’t have easy access to them.”