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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

ed the dangers of Rx abuse with their teens, from 68 percent in 2007 to 72 percent in 2008. The top three drug topics parents report discussing with teens are drugs in general, cigarettes and alcohol.

"One of the most important things for parents to realize is the immense influence they have in their children's lives," said Partnership President Steve Pasierb. "It's encouraging to see that more parents are now aware of the very real health risks of abusing medications, but now parents must take the next step -- having frequent, open conversations with their teens to protect them from this dangerous behavior."

In a related finding, PATS 2008 indicated that parent-teen discussions about the risks of abusing over-the-counter cough medicine have increased nearly 18 percent, with 65 percent of parents reporting these discussions, versus 55 percent in 2007.

Media Prompts Parent-Teen Conversations

The primary -- and increasingly influential -- cue for parent-teen discussions about drug and alcohol issues is the media, particularly television. In 2008, 70 percent of parents surveyed reported that something portrayed in the media prompted a conversation with their child about drugs or alcohol, and 64 percent specified that they were motivated to start a discussion by seeing something drug-related on television. This represents a significant increase from 2007, when 63 percent and 57 percent of parents, respectively, reported the media in general or television specifically as a cue to talk to teens about substance abuse.

The PATS data also revealed that more parents are prompted to address teen drug or alcohol use before special events, like graduation, and at key transition times when teens are most vulnerable, including starting a new grade or moving into middle or high school. Significantly more parents in 2008 (27 percent) versus 2007 (20 percent) talked to their child or teen as
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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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