Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #13)

Teenagers abuse a variety of drugs, both legal and illegal. Legally available drugs include prescribed medication and over-the-counter medications. These drugs are easily accessible, free or inexpensive, and falsely believed to be safer than illicit drugs. It is estimated that 3.1 million persons ages 12-25 have used an over-the-counter cough and cold medicine to get high and nearly 1 million have done so in the past year. This is better known as drug misuse. Youth who use other drugs are more likely to abuse prescription medications.

Did you know?

  • – Approximately 63% of youth who had used prescription drugs non-medically in the past year had also used marijuana in the past year.
  • – Approximately 13% of youth have used or sniffed inhalants and other household products.
  • – Further, 9.3% and 5% of 12th graders also report having used Vicodin and OxyContin, respectively during their youth – making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents.

Adolescent drug use is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including increased risk of serious drug use later in life, school failure, and poor judgment, which may put teens at risk for accidents, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide.

Try these messages with youth:
Misusing prescription or over the counter drugs is not any safer than using street drugs. There are healthier ways to help you feel better.

  • – Exercise to give you more energy.
  • – Use only limited amounts of caffeine to help you stay awake.
  • – Create a night time routine by listening to relaxing music and avoiding caffeine and sugar before you go to bed.

Give youth the knowledge and power to make healthy decisions!


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