Medications in Your Home

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

prescription medication inside of medicine cabinetPrescription and over- the-counter medications are legal products that should be used only as directed. 

Read: Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Misuse Medicine

Unfortunately, many teens are using them to get high. In 2019, about 567,000 young people between 12 and 17 misused prescription pain relievers within the past year, according to a national survey. (Source: Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Prescription Drug Misuse

A prescription drug is a drug that is available only with authorization from a healthcare practitioner or a pharmacist. The most misused prescription drugs fall under three categories: 


Medications that relieve pain such as Vicodin®, OxyContin®, or codeine.


Substances that can slow brain activity such as benzodiazepines used to relieve anxiety or help someone sleep, like Valium® or Xanax®.


Substances that increase attention and alertness and are used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall® or Ritalin®.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications 

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are drugs you can buy without a prescription. They are safe and effective when you follow the directions on the label and as directed by your health care professional. Read more about using over-the-counter medication safely.


Learn More

Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Misuse Medicine (DEA)


See photos of various prescription medication below:

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