Medications in Your Home

Last Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

One in four teens abuse or misuse a prescription drug in their lifetime.

Prescription (Rx) and over- the-counter (OTC) medicines are legal products that should be used only as directed. Each day, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers. Unfortunately, many teens are using opioid painkillers and OTC medicines to get high.

Prescription painkillers refer to opioid or narcotic pain relievers, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana, and methadone.

Almost one in four (23 percent) teens report abusing or misusing a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. Sixteen percent report doing so in the past year. Source: Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), 2013. 

WHERE ARE TEENS GETTING RX medicines and OTC medicines? In their home or from friends.

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to keep track of your medicines. Keep your medicines safe and secure in a locked medicine cabinet, where they cannot be taken.


Many teens believe incorrectly that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs because:

  • They are medicines
  • They can be obtained from doctors, dentists, friends, or family members


FACT:  Use of Rx medicines without a doctor’s recommendation, can be just as dangerous as using illegal drugs. Improper use can have serious health effects, including addiction and overdose.





  • Throw out old or expired medicines or unused prescription drugs safely.
  • Avoid keeping prescription painkillers or sedatives around “just in case”.
  • Do not sell or share prescription drugs.

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