Important Points to Teach Your Kids
It even sounds strange to say it, "prescription," "drug," and "epidemic" all in one phrase.
But here we are, a study of nearly 4,000 teens just published demonstrates that the abuse of prescription drugs in the US in teens, had popped up 33%.
About 1 in 4 US teens have abused a prescription drug at least once in the last year!
What is prescription drug abuse? It's taking a drug that requires a prescription, without a prescription.
This is actually an extremely dangerous category of drug abuse, since it opens the door to use of drugs that, in the right combination,will kill you.
The reason the abuse of prescription drugs is so deadly is that they are designed to pack a punch, and if the punch is not delivered carefully or mixed with other punches, you can come to grief.
Very recently, we were deeply shocked to find that about 6 kids who had graduated from Orange High School not long ago died of use of prescription drugs. Some died from taking too many, some died from mixing the wrong mix, none intended to die to the best of our knowledge.
When you read findings from the study you will note following key points:
- This problem is now officially rampant. When you get to the level of 1 in 4 teens abusing prescription drugs, that means nearly every family with teens has a child with or a friend with this problem.
- The #1 category of abused drugs in the US in teens are the stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall. About 1 in 8 teens in the US abuse stimulants. Combining these drugs with others can be quite dangerous.
- It's not new, but it's newly big. The rates are up 33% in the last 5 years!
- Kids use them to enhance performance, and to experiment. Consider skittle parties- where teens dump all the family's drugs into a bowl and pop away.
It wasn't that long ago that the use of steroids in sports was the great scandal- Barry Bonds may never enter the Baseball Hall of Fame for his alleged use of them. The outrage was that great athletes would risk hurting their bodies to enhance their performance.
Today we see a parallel fad hitting, the phenomenon of performance enhancing in school. The problem is similar to steroids, in both instances the drugs really do work. Steroids boost batting averages, stimulants boost grade point averages.
WHAT TO DO:
- Know that the abuse of prescription drugs demands the attention of every parent of a child over age 8-10. With the rate hitting 1:4, no one can assume that their child is not at risk.
- Know that this is a very dangerous problem. Children and teens really do come to harm from this practice.
- So, talk to you children, let them know a prescription drug is a chemical with power. It's build to change the body, for real.
- Let your children know that using prescription drugs without a prescription is common, and dangerous. Let them know combining drugs can be deadly.
- **Keep every prescription drug in your home under control** That means knowing where every such bottle is, and checking the pill count at regularly timed intervals, to make sure that the number of pills leaving the bottle does not exceed the prescribed amount or rate.
Obviously, the use of prescription drugs as prescribed can be very important.
But, just as clearly, we have reached a point where every parent of an older child or adolescent should be talking to their child(ren) and monitoring every bottle of pills in the home.
Dr. Arthur Lavin
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