Would you know if your teenager is using drugs? Most parents would like to think so, but many teenagers use drugs without their parents knowing anything about it. What could be worse than your kid using drugs? What if you were their supplier? Many parents are supplying their teenagers with drugs without even knowing it.
Today’s typical teenage drug user is not scoring drugs on a street corner from the local drug dealer. They are getting their drugs from the medicine cabinet in their own homes. Whether the drugs are prescription or over-the-counter medication, most teenagers are getting their drugs at home. Who would have thought that the bottle of Robitussin you bought to help with your cough was also helping your teenager get high?
Teenagers are getting drugs in various ways. Some share the drugs they are taking from their parents’ medicine cabinet with their friends. Another way teenagers get their hands on drugs is by attending “fishbowl” parties. This is when each guest brings a handful of prescription drugs to the parties which are tossed into a bowl. The bowl is then passed around to each party guest who takes a few pills from the bowl and swallows them. Obviously, this is dangerous for many reasons.
Since the brain does not mature until age 25, teenagers do not have the maturity to recognize the danger of what they are doing. They are impulsive and more likely to participate in risky behavior when making decisions. Mixing prescription medication does not seem dangerous to them. Besides, most feel since the drugs are prescribed by a doctor, then they must be safe. They aren’t safe. More than 1 million people each year end up in the emergency room due to misuse of legal and illegal drugs.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 out of 5 high school students have taken Adderall, OxyContin, Ritalin, Vicodin, and Xanax without a prescription. Also, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over 15 million teenagers in the United States admitted that they misused prescription drugs at least once in 2007. Vicodin and OxyContin are the most frequently abused prescription drugs.
What can you do to keep your teenager safe? There are several things. Talk to your kids about the danger of drugs, especially prescription drugs. Keep track of your kids at all times. You need to know where they are and, just as important, who they are hanging out with. Finally, don’t stock your medicine cabinet with leftover prescription drugs you are saving just in case you need them at a later time.