For alcohol and illicit drug abuse, visit our Underage Drinking & Illicit Drug Abuse injury topic page.
Definition: The misuse and abuse of prescription medications involves obtaining and taking these drugs without a prescription and for a nonmedical purpose. Teens and young adults are at risk of abusing prescription medications because they are widely available, free or inexpensive, and falsely believed to be safer than illicit drugs.
Prescription drug use increased sharply from 1997 to 2007, and the abuse of these drugs is now the U.S.’s fastest growing drug problem (Executive Office of the President, Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis, 2011).
Strategies to reduce prescription medication abuse among youth include: