Study Suggests Parents Underestimate Teen Misuse of Medications

clip_image002[2] (59 x 72)One in 10 teens admits to using a prescription stimulant or amphetamine to boost their performance in school, but most parents aren’t aware of the scope of the problem, a new study finds. The study on Children’s Health conducted by GfK Custom Research in January 2013 concluded that “Parent’s awareness of their teens using study drugs does not match self-reported use by teens.” Only 1% of parents of teens who have never been prescribed a stimulant medication believe their teens used such drugs, while the survey showed that 5% of 8th graders, 9% of 10th graders and 12% of 12th graders report using stimulants without a prescription.

Gary Pearce, Director for Talbot Partnership for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Prevention, advised that this report is significant as it confirms other similar studies regarding Parents underestimating substance abuse by their children. Specifically, Mr. Pearce reported that “nearly 35 % of high school seniors use marijuana, while only five percent of parents believed their teens had used marijuana over the past year.”

Taking these medications has not been shown to help students improve their grades, the researchers said, and abuse of these drugs could be very dangerous. “What we found in this poll is a clear mismatch between what parents believe and what their kids are reporting,” Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, said in a university news release. This disconnect between teen drug abuse and parents’ awareness of drug abuse may be in part due to the fact that study drugs have more subtle effects than drugs such as heroin and cocaine, allowing teens to more easily hide their drug use, the researchers said.

The study also found that only slightly more than one-forth (27%) of parents of teens reported that they had talked to their teens about using non-prescribed stimulant medications.

For additional information on what parents can do to help their children avoid the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at or find us on Facebook.