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4 Ways to Protect Kids From the Prescription Pill Epidemic, Minus the Fear Tactics

Abuse of meds by America's teens has reached epidemic proportions. But if we're serious about keeping kids away from Oxy and Adderall, we need to get honest with them.

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We are never going to eliminate addiction. And only joyless ayatollahs would actually want a drug-free America, which would entail the elimination of caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol, not just illegal drugs—and might have to ban added sugar, just to be sure. But we can, with common-sense and compassionate measures, reach the mutual goals of many fewer addicted people and many fewer overdose deaths. We just need to face reality first—and stop lying to our kids and ourselves. 

Maia Szalavitz is a columnist at The Fix. She is also a health reporter at Time magazine online, and co-author, with Bruce Perry, of Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential—and Endangered (Morrow, 2010), and author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006).