There is no reason why teenagers should believe that prescription narcotics are safe. Despite unintentional prescription drug poisoning has emerged as the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and according to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (Partnership for a Drug-Free America), many teens believe that illegal drugs are more addictive and less safe than prescription drugs. The mindset of teenagers is a dangerous one to have considering that prescription narcotics are equally dangerous as and easier to acquire than any illegal drugs. Every day, approximately 2,500 young people between 12 and 17 years of age abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
We need to be proactive with teenagers about educating them about the dangers of prescription drugs. Underestimating the power of these drugs has cost many people their lives and the better informed teenagers are, then the less chance they will abuse such drugs. Colleges, like the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, have partnered up with the Cardinal Health Foundation to raise the amount of public awareness of prescription medication abuse and to encourage health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens and college students to work to stop as many people from trying prescription narcotics as they can.
"More than one-third of teens feel pressure to abuse prescription drugs, and nearly 40 percent incorrectly perceive prescription drugs as being much safer to abuse than 'street' drugs," said Nicole Cartwright Kwiek, clinical assistant professor and assistant director for Educational Outreach at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. "By engaging rather than lecturing, the program empowers teens to share accurate information about the realities of prescription drug abuse with their peers - enhancing prevention efforts and impeding the spread of dangerous myths."