Do you have a kid at home who is on prescription meds? What are your rules around access to and unsupervised use of these pharmaceuticals? Your rules and attention to your child’s use of their own medication could be the difference between a properly medicated child or an addict, or even worse, life and death.

In a study published by University of Michigan researchers, an alarming discovery was made. This discovery could increase the recreational use, substance abuse and possible overdose of kids who are on prescription meds. According to Psych Central –

Three in four teens who were prescribed stimulant, anti-anxiety and sedative medications during the last six months had unsupervised access to them at home, according to new research.

Considering that the rates of overdose and addiction have skyrocketed since 1990, with overdoses having more than tripled and mostly due to prescription drugs, parents need to be doing more to protect their kids. Although we want to trust our kids, there are ways to do that which don’t involve unsupervised access to prescription meds.

Here are a few ways to make sure your kid is taking their medication the way it’s prescribed.

  1. Talk to your kid about the dangers of prescription medications. Many people don’t think that “legal” drugs are as dangerous as street drugs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Let your teen know the reality of misusing these pharmaceuticals.
  2. Store your teenager’s medication in your personal space. Make it a routine that they receive their meds from you instead of getting them on their own.
  3. If this isn’t possible, pay attention to how much of the medication is being used and how quickly. Make it a priority to count the pills and be aware of how many should be there.
  4. Create an environment of trust with your teenager. Make sure they understand that if something does happen, they can come to you and be honest. Supporting your teenager and having an open door policy is important for building a trusting relationship both ways.

“The lack of parental supervision and proper storage of medicines prescribed to adolescents may facilitate (their) nonmedical use of these medications, putting them at risk for poisoning or overdose,” said Ross-Durow, a research investigator at the U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Be involved with your teen’s medication routine. It could make all the difference in their life.