According to the Center for Disease Control, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States. In addition, “nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers—also called opioid pain relievers. The unprecedented rise in overdose deaths in the US parallels a 300% increase since 1999 in the sale of these strong painkillers. These drugs were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.”
Teen abuse of prescription drugs is fast and growing. According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, one in six teenagers says he/she has taken a prescription medicine – that was not their own — at least once. This spans across geographic, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries.
What can parents do?
- Keep tabs on your prescription medications. Keep a note of how many pills you have and properly dispose of unused or leftover medications. Also, remember to lock ‘em up—or put them someplace safe. Encourage family members and friends to do the same.
- Talk with your kids about drugs. Studies have shown that kids who talk about the risks of drugs and alcohol with their parents are less likely to use drugs.
- Don’t deny it. If you think your kid would “never” do that, you might be surprised. Drug abuse doesn’t discriminate. During the teen years, you’re not there to be your child’s friend. You’re there to parent—set limits and be involved in your teen’s life. Ask questions, pry and be nosy. It’s your job!
- Get help. If you think your teen is involved with prescription medication or painkiller abuse—a professional can help. Our family program at Horizon, is geared toward recovery and healing for the entire family. Just call us today at 716-831-1800 to talk with one of our friendly and helpful staff members.
Sources used to write this article:
Policy Impact: Prescription Painkiller Overdoses (http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/rxbrief/)
Fact Sheet: Preventing Teen Prescription Medicine Abuse (Teva Pharmaceuticals. © 2012 The Partnership at Drugfree.org)