Parents worried about drug use in their teenage children need look no farther than the medicine cabinet: A study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that teens are abusing prescription drugs at a higher rate than ever.
"Teens are getting into the medicine cabinet and helping themselves," said Dr. Kathleen Cowling, vice president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
"Prescription drug abuse is second only to marijuana use in teens," she said.
Access is the primary reason teenagers turn to prescription drugs, Cowling said. A common scenario: A parent undergoes surgery, puts leftover pain pills in a cabinet - and the teen finds those pills.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 15.2 million Americans 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year before being surveyed.
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