Don’t assume that your teen knows that medications can be misused. Many people don’t think of prescription drugs as being harmful or addictive because the drugs came from a doctor or pharmacy. The reality, however, is that some prescription drugs can become addictive.
Make sure your teen knows that sharing prescription medications is illegal. Most Americans do not know that it can be a felony to share prescription drugs such as opioid pain medications. It is likely that your teen does not know this either. Sharing prescription drugs or possessing someone else’s medications can result in prison time.
Encourage your teen to ask you and/or your family doctor about the risks and side effects associated with their medications. All medications carry some rick of negative effects. Someone who is informed of the risks is less likely to misuse the medications and more likely to report complications to their doctor.
Be aware of changes in your teen’s health, physical appearance, and behavior. Know the side effects of your family’s medications. For medications that can be addictive, know the signs of addiction. Report observed signs and symptoms to your family doctor. If you suspect someone of having overdosed, call 9-1-1- immediately.
Keep your family’s prescription medications in a safe place. You should not allow visitors to your home to have free access to your family’s medications. Visitors may be opening the bathroom medicine cabinet.
Monitor the use of your family’s medications. Are the pills being taken in accordance with your doctor’s instructions? Is the medications being depleted more quickly than expected? Are any pill bottles missing? If the medications is being used in larger amounts or more frequently than instructed by the doctor, notify your doctor immediately.