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Many Parents Underestimate Dangers of Teen Use of Prescription Drugs

p>WASHINGTON, DC ? April 23, 2013 When teens were asked about the last substance abuse conversation they had with their parents, just 14 percent said they talked about abusing a prescription drug, said the report being released Tuesday by The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

By comparison, most teens — 81 percent — said they have talked about the risks of marijuana use with their parents. Almost the same number said they have discussed alcohol with their parents. Almost one-third said they have talked about crack and cocaine.

One in six parents said using prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs, according to the survey. Almost one-third of the parents said attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications such as Ritalin or Adderall can improve a child’s academic or testing performance even if the teen does not have ADHD.

One in four teens in the study said they had misused or abused a prescription drug at least once. That’s up sharply, a 33 percent increase, in the last five years. One in eight teens report misusing or abusing the drugs Ritalin or Adderall — stimulants prescribed to treat ADHD. Other national studies also have seen a rise in abuse numbers for these stimulants among teens.

For parents who want to clean out their medicine cabinets of old, unused or expired prescriptions — the Drug Enforcement Administration and Justice Department is sponsoring a “take-back” day. Collection sites will be set up around the country on April 27 where people can safely toss away their unwanted medicine. Information about sites near you is available at: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug–disposal/takeback/ .

The partnership’s study was sponsored by the MetLife Foundation. Researchers surveyed 3,884 teens in grades 9-12 with anonymous questionnaires that the youngsters filled out at school from February to June 2012. The teen sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. For the adults, the sample was 817 for surveying conducted from August to October 2012, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Based in New York, The Partnership at Drugfree.org is formerly The Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The nonprofit group launched its new name in 2010 to position itself as more of a resource to parents and to avoid the misperception the partnership is a government organization.

To read full press release, please click here.

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