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Preventing Future Harm

The reality is that many of our teens or young adults will require pain medication at some point in their lives, whether it is due to a medical procedure or an injury. For parents and legal guardians, it is therefore important that they empower themselves with as much information as possible in guide healthcare decision making.

The MA Department of Public Health developed a three-step strategy for parents and guardians in handling prescription decisions as safely as possible: Ask, Manage, Talk.



your child’s physician about alternative pain management strategies, such as over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and homeopathic remedies. Model for your teen how to ask questions and make informed decisions. This will help them once they are responsible for making their own healthcare decisions. Consider asking your pharmacist if a ‘partial fill’ is possible, meaning that you only partially fill the prescription and take home a smaller number of pills than those that were prescribed.



any prescriptions that your child receives. Only parents/caregivers should manage these powerful medications and dispense them to their child. Keep them in a safe, locked space, and keep track of the number of pills that have been used. When you are done with medications, be sure to properly dispose of them by bringing them to the medical disposal kiosk at the Natick Police Department.



with your teens about the importance of being cautious with medications. Make sure they know that just because something is classified as a medication does not make it safe and that all medication needs to be properly guided by a physician to ensure that it is appropriate for an individual’s health needs and will not negatively interact with other medications. Remind them that mixing medications with any other addictive substances, including alcohol, marijuana or other medications, puts them at higher risk for overdose. Get more tips on how to talk with you teen at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.