A new study has found that one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime — a 33 percent increase over the past five years.

The study by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife foundation also found of those kids that said they abused prescription medications, one in five — 20 percent — had done so before the age of 14. More than a quarter of teens (27 percent) mistakenly believe that misusing and abusing prescription drugs is safer than using street drugs, and one-third of teens — 33 percent — say they believe “it’s okay to use prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them to deal with an injury, illness or physical pain.”

And almost one in four teens (23 percent) say their parents do not care as much if they are caught using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription, compared to getting caught with illegal drugs.

Researchers believe this data shows parents are not effectively communicating the dangers of prescription medicine misuse and abuse to their kids, nor are they safeguarding their medications at home and disposing of unused medications properly.

For more information on the study and tips on how you can better communicate the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse to your teen, visit www.drugfree.org.

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