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Youth begin to self-medicate around 11 years old. Unfortunately, when not equipped with the knowledge and information to make safe choices, they may end up doing more harm than good. Teens often think that over-the-counter and prescription drugs are “safer” than other drugs.


Help protect teens from accidental poisoning, overdose, self-harm and suicide by following these tips:

  • Teach medicine safety. Medicines should only be used as directed and should never be shared with others. Using over-the-counter and prescription medicines incorrectly can cause serious harm. Always read and follow instructions.
  • Safeguard your medicine cabinets. Keep all medicines locked away. Know what medicines you have and how much, so you will know if anything is missing.
  • Properly dispose of medications if they are no longer needed. See additional information on safe medicine disposal.
  • Educate yourself. Learn the risk factors and warning signs of medicine misuse and abuse. Seek help if concerned.
  • Stay alert and aware. Talk and listen to your teen. Familiarize yourself with social media platforms and “friend” your teen to stay informed of what’s going on in their day-to-day lives.

Call the 24-Hour Poison Help Line for Additional Support:


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