By Kim Livingston Ten 16 Recovery Network OSCEOLA COUNTY\u00a0-\u00a0Medications have a mind altering property\u00a0-\u00a0which is why they work so well\u00a0-\u00a0and\u00a0because of that, they are sometimes taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not\u00a0intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they\u00a0are prescribed. Prescription and Over the Counter drugs are, along with\u00a0alcohol and marijuana, the most commonly abused drugs by Americans 14 years of\u00a0age and older. Monitoring the Future is a research based study conducted by the University of Michigan through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The survey measured drug, alcohol and cigarette use, and their related attitudes of such drugs among eighth and 12th grade students.\u00a0The 2012\u00a0results show that after marijuana, prescription and OTC drugs account for most of\u00a0the top drugs abused by 12th graders in the past year. According to the 2011-12 Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth survey for\u00a0Osceola County, 51 students in middle school and high school reported taking a\u00a0painkiller such as OxyContin, Codeine, Percocet, or Tylenol III without a doctor's\u00a0prescription. Fifty one students in middle and high school also reported they were\u00a0offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property by someone during the\u00a0past 12 months, and 27 students reported taking a prescription drug such as Ritalin,\u00a0Adderall, or Xanax without a doctor's prescription. Teens and adults often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than\u00a0illicit drugs, but this is only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for\u00a0the purpose intended. When abused, medications can be just as dangerous and\u00a0addictive as illegal drugs. People can overdose on medications just as easily as\u00a0street drugs. The Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality\u00a0Weekly Report from 2011 shows higher rates of death from abuse of opioid pain\u00a0medication than from abuse of all illegal drugs. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications, NIDA reports that people\u00a0unknowingly contribute to this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers\u00a0with their family members. Most meds are dispensed orally in tablets, however\u00a0abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder to speed up the\u00a0entry of the drug in the bloodstream and brain which increases its effects. Taking\u00a0medications to get high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. NIDA reports that ADHD medications like Adderall are also abused by students\u00a0seeking to improve their academic performance. Although ADHD medications\u00a0can boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for\u00a0those without a medical condition. ADHD medications are stimulant drugs and can sometimes have an opposite effect to what is desired. In a 2007 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) study, more than 70 percent in the survey reported adverse consequences from taking ADHD drugs non-medically, such as sleep difficulties. More than 60 percent reported that the drugs made them irritable, and more than 30 percent said the drugs gave them headaches. Most teens who are abusing medications will say they get them from family and friends. The 2006 survey from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services\u00a0Administration (SAMSHA) shows that almost 70 percent of teens illegally obtain medications from their home or their friend's homes. Signs your teen may be abusing drugs include a dramatic decrease in grades,\u00a0hanging out with drug using friends, dropping out of sports or extra curricular\u00a0activities, isolating themselves from family, acting very secretive, sunglasses at\u00a0inappropriate times and any other behaviors that may be abnormal for your child. Simple things parents can do is monitor the medications in the home, lock\u00a0them up if you can and dispose of any expired or unwanted medications at a local disposal site such as law enforcement. Medication disposal boxes are located at the Sheriff's Dept., Reed City Police Dept. and Evart Police Dept. and are available any time the lobby is open. For more information, please contact Kim Livingston at Ten 16 Recovery Network at (231) 527-2000 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.