Prescription drug abuse is the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. And, sadly, many of these victims are children.

We all know how important it is to talk to our children about the dangers of smoking, drinking and drugs. But we often forget to talk about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. Every day, 2500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time. Our children are taking advantage of easy access to drugs right in our own homes without our knowledge.

Be sure to include a discussion about prescription drug abuse in the conversation. Believe it or not, you have the most influence over your teen than anyone else – even their friends, music, TV, the Internet and celebrities. They do listen even when they roll their eyes at you.

Lead by example. Most of what we teach our children is conveyed by our own actions. They watch us from an early age and learn by our example for just about everything in life. If we abuse prescriptions and take meds intended for others, it sends the wrong message.

The good news is there are steps you can take to protect your kids from prescription drug abuse.

  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of taking prescription medications without a doctor’s supervision.
  • Lock up your medications to keep them out of your teens’ hands.
  • Double check with a health care provider if any medications have a potential for abuse.
  • Keep track of medications and keep count of the pills.
  • Have a strategy if your child takes medications at home or in school. They need to know when it is okay to take prescriptions and when it is not. Make sure the rules are being followed.
Helena Resources

Helena Youth Crisis
Get answers and find resources based on signs and behaviors of your child

Shodair Children’s Hospital

Boyd Andrew Community Services

Center for Mental Health

Take Action
Adult Resources

Talk About Rx
Educate Before You Medicate

Up & Away
Keeping Prescriptions Out of Reach


Addictive and Mental Disorders Division


Drug Information Systems

Family Check up
Could your kids be at risk for substance abuse?

Rx Drug Abuse At-a-Glance
Given the fact that medication abuse statistically rises with age, the earlier we educate children and young people about the realities and dangers of prescription drug abuse, perhaps the better our chances of preventing them from starting to abuse psychotherapeutics in the first place.

Rx Drugs of Abuse
Painkillers or Opioids: Prescribed to treat pain

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Ignorance is NO excuse Info Graphic
National Institute of Drug Abuse

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Rx Drug Abuse for Teens Videos
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Tips, checklists and toolkits specifically for parents

Parents: You Can Make A Difference Right Now

Children and Adolescent Health
Drug Watch – Facts, Risks, Other Drugs to Look Out For

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