Friday, December 23, 2011
Give your Child the Gift of Knowledge - Talk to Them About Prescription Drug Abuse
One of the biggest dangers facing our youth today is the abuse of prescription drugs, and abuse rates are increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens say they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it themselves. In addition, 2,500 teenagers use a prescription drug to get high for the first time every day with many accessing these drugs readily available in their parent’s medicine cabinet.
Inspirations for Youth and Families, aka Inspirations Teen Rehab wants parents to learn the dangers of prescription drug abuse, as well as steps they can take to prevent it.
Teens are abusing prescription drugs for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they are using to party and get high, but some are also using to “manage” their lives. Many teens are abusing pain relievers like Lortab or Oxycontin to cope with academic, social or emotional stress.
Some are also abusing prescription amphetamines to lose weight; some are abusing prescription medications such as Ritalin or Adderall to give them additional energy and ability to focus when they’re studying or taking tests. Ultimately, many who are using are doing so because they are addicted and cannot stop.
Many people do not equate the dangers of prescription drug abuse with those of illicit drugs. However, one can easily overdose by mixing prescription drugs with over-the-counter mediation and/or alcohol. In addition, the longer-term use of prescription pain relievers and other prescription medications are potentially addictive.
So, this Holiday Season we suggest that you give your child the gift of knowledge on prescription drug abuse. Visit websites reporting on the subject and show them the end result of teens that have abuse prescription drugs. In addition to talking to your children about the dangers of prescription drug use and setting clear concise rules about them the same way you do about illicit drugs and alcohol use, there are steps you can take to prevent prescription drug abuse. The Partnership at DrugFree.org, suggests three basic steps to take: monitor, secure and dispose.
Monitor - Parents are in an influential position to immediately help reduce teen access to prescription drugs because these drugs are found in the home.
Start by taking note of how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets.
Keep track of your refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for your teens and other members of the household. If you find you need to refill your medication more often than expected that could indicate a problem.
If your teen has been prescribed a drug, be sure you control the medication, and monitor dosages and refills.
Make sure your friends and relatives – especially grandparents – are also aware of the risks. Encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets.
If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of helping safeguard medications.
Secure - Teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easily accessible, and either free or inexpensive. Approach your prescriptions the same way you would other valuables in your home, like cash or jewelry.
Take prescription medications out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you know about.
If possible, keep all medicines, both prescription and over- the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet your teen cannot access.
Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock their medications or keep them in a safe place.
Talk to parents of your teenager’s friends. Encourage them to secure their prescriptions.
Dispose – Safely disposing expired or unused prescription medications is an important step in helping to protect your teens. Take an inventory of all the prescription drugs in your home. Start by discarding expired or unused prescription drugs, when your teens are not home.
Unbelievable though it may seem, teenagers will retrieve discarded prescription drugs from the trash. To help prevent this from happening, mix the medication with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put the mixture into an empty can or bag and discard.
Unless the directions on the package say otherwise, do not flush medications down the drain or toilet.
To help prevent unauthorized refills and protect your and your family’s privacy, remove any personal, identifiable information from the prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.