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  • This national substance misuse hotline is free, confidential, and available 24/7.
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  • Students

It is important to get your “Dose of Reality” about the risks and dangers of using prescription painkillers, as well as the signs of misuse, before it becomes a problem for you or your loved ones.

According to the 2021 Florida Substance Abuse Survey, nearly 1/3 of surveyed Florida students (6th-12th grade) reported at least one instance of illicit drug use in their lifetime. Nearly 40% of youth, ages 12-18, report that the source of their most recent misuse of prescription pain relievers was a friend or relative. On a national level, the CDC recently found 1 out of 7 high school students reported misuse of prescription opioids at least once in their lifetimes.

In Florida, according to the annual Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, thankfully, there has been a decrease in the past 12 years of Florida students taking prescription pain relievers without a prescription, with only 0.8% of students now reporting ‘Past-30-Day Prevalence’ misuse.

Children and even young adults are particularly susceptible to drug abuse and addiction because their brains are still developing. While drug abuse and addiction affects all groups and ages, we must be particularly vigilant in protecting youth from what could otherwise be a terrible lifetime of addiction and relapse that starts with prescription drug misuse and abuse.

What Students and Young People Can Do

  • If you, or someone you love needs help, call the free, confidential, 24/7 National Substance Misuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
  • If someone offers you pills that weren’t prescribed to you, say no. Encourage that person to dispose of them properly.
  • Never offer your own prescription painkillers to someone else. Be sure to lock them up or store them safely, out of reach of others.
  • If you find prescription painkillers at home, leave them alone. If you’re comfortable, ask the person whose name is on the label to lock them up or dispose of them if they’re no longer needed or expired.
  • Warn your friends about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers, including the fact that 3 out of 4 people who use heroin start by misusing painkillers.