Unintentional poisoning by prescription drugs is one of the leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds. Pain relievers, antidepressants, stimulants and other pills dispensed by a doctor for a family member or friend can be deadly if shared or misused in other ways. NC Poison Control can help if someone has accidentally or intentionally:
  • taken another person’s medicine
  • taken too much of his or her own medicine
NC Poison Control is available 24/7 to help with your medication questions and concerns. Nurses and pharmacists handle all calls confidentially and free of charge. Please put this number in your phone: 1-800-222-1222.


For Educators: CLICK HERE to download the Sharing Pills Can Kill PowerPoint. CLICK HERE to order free materials about preventing prescription medicine misuse for you or someone you know.
Close up of upset young woman holding pill

Sharing Prescription Pills Can Kill a Friendship.

One out of every four calls to NC Poison Control
concerning a 15-19 year old is about a pain reliever (like Vicodin®), antidepressant (like Prozac®), or stimulant (like Adderall®).
More than half of people misusing pain relievers
get them from a friend or relative.2
Approximately 900 adolescents
each day in the U.S. misuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.2
73% of opioid deaths among children and adolescents
involve a prescription opioid, according to research spanning the last few decades.3
On average, young people who have opioid prescriptions
by their senior year are 33% more likely to misuse prescription opioids after high school.4

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), National Vital Statistics System. Ten Leading Causes of Injury Deaths by Age Group Highlighting Unintentional Injury Deaths, United States – 2016.

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 18-5068, NSDUH Series H-53). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from www.samhsa.gov/data/

3 Gaither JR, Shabanova V, Leventhal JM. US National Trends in Pediatric Deaths From Prescription and Illicit Opioids, 1999-2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(8):e186558. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.6558

4 Miech, R., Johnston, L., O’Malley, P. M., Keyes, K. M., & Heard, K. (2015). Prescription opioids in adolescence and future opioid misuse. Pediatrics, peds-2015.