Prescription drug abuse is the most rapidly increasing drug abuse among teens. In 2009, more than one third of teens said they can get prescription drugs to get high within a day; nearly one in five could get them within an hour.

Parents set the example and help to create the beliefs their children develop about drug use. Parents must teach their teens that using over-the-counter or prescription medications to get high or alter their mood, is just as dangerous as illegal drugs. It is also against the law for an individual to use prescription medication without being properly prescribed.

As parents, we can not control every outside influence, but we can examine our own behavior to ensure that we are setting a good example. Always follow your physicians instructions when it comes to prescription medications and never share them. Only use over-the-counter medication for it’s intended purpose. Your kids and teens notice everything, and they will likely follow your lead if you are misusing medication.

You can help overcome the power of peer pressure with effective parenting. It starts with knowledge. Don’t assume this rapidly growing problem won’t effect your children. Instead, assume that it will, and take steps to educate them. Communicate the dangers of drug use (including prescription and over-the-counter medications). Studies show that children whose parents play an active role in their lives, are less likely to use harmful substances.

Here are some additional tips:

- Ensure that all medications in the household are properly locked away. Don’t kid yourself into thinking this isn’t necessary. If your own children don’t get curious, their friends might. Unless your medicine cabinet has a lock it is best to store medications somewhere else, such as a lockbox or safe.

- Always keep track of the medications in your home. This goes for your children’s own medications as well. If you find that you have to refill a medication sooner than expected, this is a red flag that someone may be taking medication without your knowledge.

- Share this information with friends and family. Every adult in your children’s lives should be aware of this potential problem and take steps for prevention. Encourage them to safeguard their medications and track them closely.

- Monitor internet usage. Prescription drugs are not only widely available in many homes, but teens can also obtain prescription drugs through the internet. There are many websites that offer prescription drugs for sale (even without a prescription). Be aware of the sites your children visit and review credit card and bank account statements closely.

When discussing this topic with your children make it a conversation rather than a lecturer. Don’t only talk, but listen to what your kids have to say about drug use. The more open the conversation, the more likely they are to be honest about what’s going on in their schools and with their friends. It is our job as parents to protect and educate our children, and prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse is far too dangerous to ignore.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Espich is the author of the multi award-winning book, "Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the life of your dreams." For additional articles, resources, and to preview the first chapter of her book visit: