According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 70 percent of teens who abused prescription drugs obtained them from a friend or relative. In a recent four-year period, hospital emergency room officials reported an 80 percent increase in the number of prescription drug abuse visits nationwide.
”Many teens and their parents are unaware of the risks of prescription drug abuse,” said Mike Goldsby, senior program manager for Department of Health and Human Services and a Humboldt ASAP member. “Because prescription drugs are medicines given by a doctor or pharmacy, many teens mistakenly believe they are safer than ‘street drugs.’”
Officials with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) say teens are abusing painkillers, depressants and stimulants that can affect motor skills, judgment and the ability to learn. Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and alcohol. The combination can cause respiratory failure and even death.
ONDCP officials offer some suggestions for parents:
o Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access
o Set clear rules for teens about all drug use
o Make sure they don’t share medicine and always follow instructions about dosages
o Be a good role model and follow the same rules
o Safely dispose of old or unused medicines
o Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs
The ASAP campaign will encourage parents to talk about prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse in their conversations with their children about substance abuse prevention.
To learn more about teen prescription drug abuse, visit www.TheAntiDrug.com or call 1-800-788-2800.
Humboldt ASAP meets every other month and encourages public participation. For more information, contact Beth Wells at bwells.co.humboldt.ca.us or 445-6023.