Skip to main content

When Parents Talk about Prescription Drug Abuse, Kids Listen (Even If They Pretend Not To)

In the age of smartphones, teens are so immersed in media that it may seem hard to get their attention. SAMHSA recently found that one in five parents of teens didn’t think they had much influence on whether their teen used substances. Even worse, one in ten parents of teens hadn’t spoken to their child about substance use within the past year.

The thing is – parents actually do play a huge role in whether their children end up abusing substances. Kids who learn about the dangers of prescription drug abuse from their parents were significantly less likely to use substances than those who did not.

According to the CDC, we are in the midst of a prescription drug abuse epidemic.

  • Prescription painkiller overdoses claim the lives of nearly 15,000 people every year, more than the number of heroin and cocaine overdose deaths combined
  • Teens are particularly vulnerable to prescription drug abuse because the drugs are easy to obtain and falsely believed to be safer than street drugs
  • One in ten teens and young adults between ages 14 and 20 admitted to misusing prescription pain killers within the past year
  • Nearly one in four teens reported misusing or abusing a prescription drug during their lifetime
  • Prescription medications are the drug-of-choice for 12- and 13-year-olds, abused more commonly than any other drug

"Surveys of teens repeatedly show that parents can make an enormous difference in influencing their children's perceptions of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drug use."

                                                                             —SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde