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Children Are Still Easily Getting their Hands on Prescription Drugs

Update Date: Aug 14, 2013 03:58 PM EDT

Prescription drugs are meant to alleviate pain and other conditions when people take them according to their doctors' instructions. Despite this, people are still abusing prescription drugs, suggesting that more needs to be done to control this substance. For young adults who might be more vulnerable to abusing these drugs, parents must be that voice of authority to make sure that their children are not freely popping pills. However, in a new study, researchers found that children are still getting access to these drugs way too easily.

In this study, researchers from the University of Michigan interviewed 501 adolescents with their parents' consent. The children were either in eighth or ninth grade with the average age of 14.1. The study lasted five years in which the researchers monitored the participants via questionnaires. The interviews focused on three main factors. The first one asked the participants about the types of medications that were prescribed either by a doctor or a dentist. The second one asked the children where in their homes were the drugs stored. The last one focused on whether or not the children's parents supervised them when they took the prescribed medications.

The researchers discovered that three out of four teenagers reported that they were prescribed medications within the past six months. They also stated that they took their medications without being supervised. The fact that 75 percent of children are taking their prescription drugs without any parental supervision is alarming. The researchers stated that when children take medications on their own, the risk of an overdose, substance abuse or drug diversion increases substantially. The drugs that the researchers noted were most popular were painkillers, stimulants, anti-anxiety and sedatives.

"The lack of parental supervision and proper storage of medicines prescribed to adolescents may facilitate [their] nonmedical use of these medications, putting them at risk for poisoning or overdose," said the study's lead author Paula Ross-Durow, a research investigator at the U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender according to Medical Xpress. "It is critical that clinicians educate parents and patients about the importance of proper storage and disposal of medications, particularly those with abuse potential."

In order to stop the rates of prescription drug abuse from going up, parents must do a better job monitoring their children's medications. The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health

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