Maybe you slipped and fell and needed to have rotator cuff surgery or you had a joint replacement recently. Perhaps you were in a car crash or had a root canal and required pain relief until you healed.
Narcotic painkillers are effective medicines, but they also have a massive risk of abuse and can lead to addiction. They are some of the most carefully controlled substances legally available through a doctor’s prescription in the United States.
When you have more pain medication than you need, professionals typically recommend that you take your excess medication to a safe drop point, whether it is with your doctor or local law enforcement. Failing to do so might mean that your teenager eventually gets into legal trouble because of the pills that you kept around the house.
Most teenagers with illegal prescription pills get them from family members
Researchers try to understand what drives drug addiction itself and the socio-economic factors that influence the unregulated marketplace for prescription drugs. Trying to determine where people get their medication from can reduce illicit sources.
According to research as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, teenagers and young adults up to the age of 25 are likely to get prescription medication that they should not have from family members or a friend. Statistically, around half of young adults receive those pills for free. Another 10% or so buy those pills from a friend or relative, while a smaller percentage take them without permission from family members.
Whether you volunteer that for your child to take a pill because they have chronic headaches or they sneak them out of your medicine cabinet, your child could be the one facing criminal charges for the illegal possession or distribution of controlled substances.
How can you help when your young adult makes a big mistake?
Experimenting and failing are a big part of growing up. Unfortunately, if a mistake involves a controlled substance, the consequences could last for the rest of someone’s life. You can help your child by addressing why they used or took your medication and possibly by helping them get into counseling.
You may also want to help them handle their pending criminal charges. Supporting them, including through the retention of a defense attorney, could help them move on from this mistake and still have a bright future.