What If I Suspect My Child is Using

Teens take over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs for many of the same reasons that they take street drugs. In many cases, drugs are used to achieve a certain emotion or to help deal with situations that are difficult or stressful. Teens often choose these types of medications because they see them as less harmful than illegal or other “hardcore” drugs.

Easy Access

Another reason that teens turn to over-the-counter or prescription drugs is because they have easy access to them. OTC medications can be purchased at any grocery or drug store and prescription medications can be found in medicine cabinets at home, are shared among friends or can be purchased illegally over the Internet. Unfortunately, what some teens do not realize is that this type of drug abuse, as well as the sharing of prescription medications, is as illegal as using or obtaining any other drug.

Media Myths

Increased media coverage has led to many myths and misconceptions about opioid misuse and abuse. It’s important to separate myths from truths when talking to teens. Educate yourself (PDF).

Changes in Personality or Behavior

If you suspect that your child is abusing prescription or over the counter (OTC) drugs, there are certain warning signs you may notice.

Parents should look for changes in their child’s personality and behavior at school and home. They should take note if he or she becomes more aggressive, withdrawn or starts to exhibit mood swings. Their child also may start to associate with a different group of friends, no longer care about his or her appearance or stop tending to personal hygiene. He or she may be noticeably less hungry or have difficulty sleeping. Items may begin to suddenly disappear from the medicine cabinet and the child may have eyes that always appear red or bloodshot.

Know Whats Signs to Look For

Know the signs to look for, and understand that when it comes to teen or young adult drug and alcohol use, it’s never too early to speak up.

More Information

Want more information about specific drugs? Check out a comprehensive and up-to-date source of drug information for parents. Learn the facts, prevalence and warning signs to help keep your child safe.

Need Help Now?

If you or someone you know is experiencing a substance related emergency or needs immediate help now, CALL 911.

You can also contact the ALIVE RVA Addiction Recovery Support Warm Line at 1-833-473-3782. The ALIVE RVA Warm Line is available from 8am – midnight, 7 days a week. 

Your local Community Services Board/Behavioral Health Authority also offers Same Day Access for services, which means you can walk-in to immediately request services. More information about Same Day Access for the following localities can be found by clicking on the links below:

Chesterfield County

Hanover County

Henrico County

Richmond City