The harsh reality of prescription drug use is becoming an issue for a growing number of teens. Here in Nevada, nearly 30% of teenagers have abused prescription drugs, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
"Commonly, people obtain them from family members, or they have family members that are doing the same thing," says Sgt. Scott Jackson, with the Nevada Department of Public Safety. "Or they steal them from family members, they buy them off the black market. We've also had instances where kids are going down to Mexico."
Drug officials say most parents and teens are clueless when it comes to knowing the effects of misusing prescription drugs. A new national study reveals that half of all teens surveyed think prescription drugs are "much safer" than illegal drugs, like ecstasy or cocaine. A third of them also believe that these pain killers are not addictive. When in fact, misusing or abusing prescription drugs can lead to serious side effects, like hair loss, vomiting, skin rashes, seizures and even death.
Experts say the first step is realizing that prescription drugs are extremely dangerous, and on the rise on school campuses. They urge parents to talk to their kids about drugs, and keep close tabs on behavior like dropping grades, abnormal mood swings, and withdrawing from friends and family.