Students and Young People

A Dose of Reality

Between 1999 and 2014, Minnesota had 322 opioid-related overdose deaths among young people ages 15 to 24. Nearly 1 in 4 teens report taking a prescription drug not prescribed to them. Many young people wrongly believe that prescription drugs are safer and less addictive than illicit drugs. Most teens who abuse prescription painkillers get them from friends and relatives, often without the person knowing.

What Students and Young People Can Do

  • If someone offers you prescription painkillers prescribed for someone else, don’t take them.
  • Tell your friends about the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription painkillers, including that nearly 80% of heroin users previously abused prescription painkillers.
  • If you’re prescribed painkillers, never give them to someone else and be sure to lock them up or store them safely.
  • If you find prescription painkillers at home, leave them alone and ask the person whose name is on the label to lock them up or dispose of them properly if they’re no longer needed.


If you notice a friend who needs help with prescription painkiller abuse—or if you are worried that you may be misusing prescription painkillers—help is available and recovery is possible. Talk to a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult. For more information contact one of the following resources:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens:
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
    1-800-662-HELP (4357)
    Visit the Treatment Services Locator
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services—Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division:
    Visit the DHS website for information on substance abuse programs and services.