Every day, 2,500 American youth misuse a prescription pain medication (i.e., take without a prescription) for the first time, according to Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Though prescription medication misuse has declined among high school students since its peak 10 years ago, it remains a health concern.
Chances are that, like most pediatricians and primary care providers (PCPs) who treat teens, you typically don’t prescribe opioids to your patients.
The biggest source of misused medications is diversion from the family medicine cabinet, and many of these medications were left over from someone else’s prescription. Even though pediatricians may not be the source, they can help prevent problems by discussing the responsible use of medications and the risk of experimenting with opioids with our adolescent patients.