Jill had three wisdom teeth removed on Thursday before school let out for the winter holidays. As her oral surgeon was leaving for a snow skiing trip that weekend, he wrote the 17-year-old a 2 week prescription for Vicodin, just in case she needed a little more for the pain. Although Jill had never taken the drug before, her surgeon reassured both of her parents that it was safe if taken as directed. Jill’s father said he was familiar with the drug, as he’d taken it for a couple of days following his recent back surgery. Four weeks later, after Jill consumed all her pills as well as all the leftover pills she could find in the back of her dad’s medicine cabinet and had spent her Christmas, birthday, and allowance money to buy more, she met a “friend” who assured her he could get her some good heroin much cheaper.

We have all seen the devastation caused in our communities by the opioid epidemic. Hanley Foundation wants to work with local leaders to lend our prevention, education, and advocacy expertise to the battle against substance addiction. We also offer access to treatment for those living with substance use disorders who might otherwise be unable to get help due to financial limitations.

Here’s what parents need to know about teens and prescription drug abuse:

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has just reached record numbers, with over 50,000 deaths now attributed to opioid overdoses each year.

In some states, drug pharmaceutical companies are being sued for misleading physicians regarding the risk of prescribing highly addictive opioids to their patients. Parents also need to know the risks associated with these types of medications and should investigate alternative pain management techniques which are not addictive for their children.

In examining whether a legitimate prescription for opioid drugs increases the likelihood of later misuse for teens, a recent study uncovered a surprising trend: it’s the drug-naive teens most at risk for problems.

If you have prescription drugs in your home, keep close track of them. For kids, the most common source of prescription drugs is parents. Make sure that your home is not an easy source of prescription drugs for your kids or their friends. If you are asking yourself “where can I find substance abuse resources near me” visit hub.hanleyfoundation.org or feel free to contact us.

For more information about Hanley Foundation, email info@hanleyfoundation.org or call: 561-268-2355.