Parents have an enormous impact on their children’s attitudes toward prescription drugs—and the risk that their kids will abuse them. Here’s what experts suggest you do:
1. Don’t be shy. Many teens believe that parents won’t care as much if they’re caught abusing prescription drugs because the meds are legal. Tell them that you do care and that you want to help if they’re in trouble.
2. Keep track of quantities. Even a few missing pills could be a red flag.
3. Store your drugs—and those of your children—in a secure location in your home, under lock and key if you have reason for concern.
4. Properly dispose of old or unused medicine. Some experts advise against flushing drugs down the toilet because doing so pollutes the water supply; instead, you can put them in a bag or container with coffee grounds or kitty litter to discourage pill hunting. Or check with your local police, sanitation department, and pharmacies. Increasingly, towns are sponsoring prescription-pill drop-offs to help families dispose of unused pills.
5. Talk to other family members (especially grandparents) and parents of your child’s friends about safeguarding drugs in their homes as well.
6. Go to theantidrug.com for more information.