Simple monitoring, secure storage and proper disposal reduces theft of prescription drugs.

Research shows that the strongest predictor of heroin use is recreational use of prescription painkillers, yet many teens mistakenly believe these pills are safe because they come from a doctor.

Prescription painkiller misuse and abuse has become a serious problem, with nearly half of all overdose deaths involving a prescription, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common drugs involved in such deaths include Methadone, Oxycodone (OxyContin) and Hydrocodone (Vicodin), according to the CDC.

Every day in our country, 1,756 teens abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time, and prescription medications have become the most commonly abused drug among 12- to 13-year-olds.

Where are they getting these pills? Usually for free from friends or family.

In national surveys, teens report these pills are “easier to get than beer,” because they can get them from a friend’s or family members’ medicine cabinet. Despite the risks, these potent pills are often not properly secured or monitored.

These pills are essentially the same thing as heroin or a loaded gun, so they should be kept locked away. Monitor pills, keep them secure and take unused pills to a collection site. If your kid gets painkillers after an injury, control and monitor them.

Talk with your kids about the dangers of misusing pills and remember: children who hear about the risks from parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t get these critical messages at home.

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