UM study finds adolescents have easy access to prescription drugs

Aug 13, 2013

Three out of four 14-year-olds who have been prescribed medication during the last six months have had unsupervised access to the drugs.

That's according to a new study by the University of Michigan.

"These medications are important, they treat illnesses and pain that we want to have treated but at the same time these medications have abuse potential," said U of M Professor Carol Boyd, who was the principal investigator for the study. "We need to treat them as we would treat alcohol in our house -- and that is we keep it locked up from young people and we don't allow young people easy access."

Boyd says health care practitioners have a role in making sure they're used safely.

"Physicians and nurses who are handing out prescriptions need to educate parents and patients about the liability of these medications. It's against the law to share them and it's against the law to take them if they haven't been prescribed to you ... and easy access makes everybody vulnerable."

Federally controlled pain, stimulant, anti-anxiety and sedative drugs were among the medications identified in the study.

-Lindsay Hall, Michigan Radio Newsroom