Rx Drugs & Opioids

Essential Information

The impact of physical pain on the lives of millions of Americans cannot be underestimated. Opioids, once prescribed to alleviate suffering, have now exposed us to an alarming “opioid crisis” due to their highly addictive nature. Mitigating youth access to prescription medications is imperative, as studies reveal that 60% of teenagers who misuse prescription drugs acquire them from friends or family. To safeguard your loved ones, here are verified facts and proactive steps you can take:

Key Facts:

  • Tragically, the United States has witnessed over 1 million drug overdose deaths, many of them opioid-related.
  • Fentanyl, a substance 50 times more potent than heroin, has become pervasive in nearly all street drugs and counterfeit pills, posing a grave risk to users.
  • A concerning 80% of individuals who use heroin initially started with prescription medications.
  • Prolonged use of prescription painkillers, even at low doses, over two to three months can lead to addiction.
  • Painkiller addiction often originates from the improper use or sharing of legitimately prescribed medications after medical procedures or injuries.
  • Both prescription (Rx) painkillers and heroin fall within the opioid category.

Protective Measures:

Monitor Medications – Assess your awareness regarding the number of medications within your household. Can you confidently detect any missing pills? Ensure you can affirmatively answer this question moving forward. Frequent refills might indicate an issue. If your teenager is prescribed medication, maintain control over it and closely supervise dosages and refills. Be especially cautious with substances prone to abuse among teens, such as opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Secure All Medications – Implement locking mechanisms. If you have children or grandchildren, treat prescription medications with the same vigilance as you would potentially harmful household items when they were toddlers. Lock them up. Remove prescription medicines from accessible areas like the medicine cabinet and store them in a discreet location known only to you. If feasible, consider securing both prescription and over-the-counter medicines in a locked cabinet, rendering them inaccessible to your teenager. Extend this recommendation to other households that might have teenagers with access to medications and encourage them to adopt secure storage practices.

Proper Disposal of expired or unused medicines plays a crucial role in safeguarding your teens and household and minimizing the likelihood of medication misuse. To find disposal locations and hours in Buckeye visit: wayoutwestcoalition.org/resources


The WOW Coalition is a prevention association that promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, marijuana, and Rx abuse by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use. Visit: wayoutwestcoalition.org/resources

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