The Partnership is raising a red flag about this "entrenched behavior" among teens, warning parents that they need to address the issue with their kids. Only 24 percent of teens reported that their parents talked with them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse or use of medications without a doctor's supervision, and only 18 percent of teens said their parents discussed the risks of abusing OTC cough medicine.
According to the 2008 PATS, about 20 percent of teens reported abusing a prescription medication at least once, while 7 percent reported abusing OTC cough medicine in the past year.
In fact, PATS found that 41 percent of teens mistakenly believe that abuse of medicines is less dangerous than abuse of illegal street drugs, and most reported that prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs. They take them from parents' medicine cabinets, get them through other people's prescriptions, or buy them on the Internet.