The statistics are scary. Three million teens have abused prescription drugs. Of these many, have started abusing prescription drugs at the tender age of twelve years old. In the last ten years this statistic has risen by 400 percent. In the last year, this percentage has risen by 9 percent and it is estimated that this was by teens under the age of 15 years of age.
Why are so many teenagers abusing prescription drugs?
• It is easy to get away with it
• It is easier to hide the abuse for a longer period of time
• They have easy access to the drugs both from their own homes, the homes of friends and even other relatives
• They can even get some of the drugs themselves by going to several doctors
• It is easier to hide the symptoms of prescription drug abuse
What are some of the few symptoms that parents can look for, even though a child may be able to explain the symptoms away or try to explain them away?
• Feeling hot
• Red eyes
• Red nose
• Feeling tired
• The child just doesn’t act like him/herself
What should a parent do to help prevent their teenager from becoming another statistic?
• Discuss the rise of prescription drug abuse to your child.
• Discuss the dangers
• Explain that taking other people’s medications can have dire consequences from allergic reactions to death.
• Do not assume your child would never do such a thing.
Keep vigilant of what is going on in your own home:
• Know what is in your own house is. Know where all the medications are and how much you have. When you don’t need a medication any more, get rid of it.
• Keep an inventory list at least mentally of what is stored where. This list should include not only medications but inhalants, as well. Know what is stored in your kitchen and in other storage areas of the home.
• Throw away what you don’t need. This includes inhalants.
Notice what your children are doing and saying.
• Notice if your child is suddenly acting differently.
• Notice how your child talks to other children.
• Try to keep up with the slang of the day. Some slang words that goes along with prescription abuse includes: pharming, chill pills, tranqs, big boys.
• Also realize that over the counter medication can pose a risk. This includes cold medications, cough medications and cough syrups. Keep an eye out for empty bottles and containers of these in your trash.
Most of all, talk to your children and remember no child is perfect. Understand that no child lives in a bubble. Any child can fall victim to peer pressure and could decide to experiment.
The Early Show, CBS