A new survey suggests New Jersey parents see a link between the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin, but most don't realize the problem can start in their own homes.

Brian Chase, ThinkStock

In the annual study from the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, the number of parents who believe kids can get prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of home medicine cabinets dropped 19 points to 49 percent.

The annual report found 58 percent of parents have not taken a recent inventory of their prescription and OTC medicine, and more than 80 percent never made the effort to dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medicine.

"Unfortunately, there's no neighborhood and no community in New Jersey that is immune to the issue of prescription drug abuse," said Angelo Valente, the partnership's executive director. "In many cases, that prescription drug abuse leads to heroin abuse."

On a positive note, the study registered a significant increase in the number of parents, from 65 to 74 percent, who have talked to their children about the risks of misusing medication. Eight in 10 parents, meanwhile, believe their opinions are "very important" to their children.

As a result of the study, PDFNJ launched a new site -- TalkNowNJ.com -- to inform parents about their role in preventing prescription drug abuse and how to spot symptoms of a child abusing opiates.