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National Survey: Parents Report Increased Awareness of Risks of Teen Prescription Drug Abuse, But Preventative Action Lags
Date:5/4/2009

Media Plays Major Role in Prompting Parent-Teen Discussions about Substance Abuse

Mothers Take the Lead in Monitoring, Dads Have Opportunity to Engage More with Kids

NEW YORK, May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 14th annual national survey of parents' attitudes about teen drug and alcohol use was released today by the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation. The Partnership/MetLife Foundation Parents Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) reveals a strong increase in parental awareness of the dangers of one of the most troubling and persistent trends in teen drug use -- teen abuse of prescription medications.

This nationally projectable survey of 1,004 parents of children in grades 4-12 was conducted in-home by the Partnership with major funding beginning in 2008 from MetLife Foundation.

The study highlights remarkable year-over-year progress in increasing parents' perception of the risks posed by teen abuse of prescription (Rx) medications -- an entrenched behavior that nearly 20 percent of teens admit to engaging in during their lifetime.

According to the PATS 2008 survey, in a single year's time, the number of parents who mistakenly believe that abusing prescription medicines is "much safer" than using illicit street drugs dropped by nearly half--from 19 percent in 2007 to just ten percent in 2008. The same level of progress was reported regarding beliefs about the addictive potential of some prescription medicines when misused. In 2007, 24 percent of parents believed that intentional abuse of prescription medicines would not be addictive. In 2008, that number decreased significantly to 11 percent.

The heightened awareness has yet to translate into increased parental action to prevent the behavior, however. The data show a small, yet statistically insignificant, percentage gain in the number of parents who say they have discuss
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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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