Drug-Free Kids

Drug Free Kids

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America) has found that “misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is now a normalized behavior among teens.”

  • A full 23% of teens say their parents don’t care if they are caught using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Of teens abusing prescription drugs, 20% began doing so before age 14.
  • One in 5 teens report abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers and 1 in 10 has abused cough medicine.
  • Opioid overdoses increased 205% from 1997 to 2012.
  • The rate of fatal opioid overdose more than doubled between 2000 and 2013.
  • New Jersey saw overdose deaths rise by more than 40% between 2015-2016.
  • The National Safety Council found that -- for the first time in U.S. history -- people are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a car crash.

Preventing Abuse

Besides safely disposing of unwanted or unneeded medications, one easy way to prevent abuse is to keep your prescription medication hidden.

Family members whose homes teens visit should keep prescription medications safely out of teens’ reach, rather than in the medicine cabinet. If possible, lock them up in a cabinet or safe box.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Be mindful of the over-the-counter medicines in your home, too. Stay aware of the medicine in your medicine cabinet, and ask questions if you notice that any of them are used often or disappear.