Streets aren’t the only place kids find their drugs!
While parents assume that their children are only getting drugs from outside the house, including the streets and school, this is not always the case. Many children are abusing drugs that are readily available in their own household! Seventy percent (70%) of people age 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from a friend or relative. Every single day, 2,500 teens begin abusing prescription drugs each day. Make sure you talk to your children and find out what they already know and have heard. Inform them that experimenting with prescription drugs, even once, can lead to an addiction, overdose or death. Set clear standards and expectations around ALL types of substance abuse, including abuse of prescription medications.
As parents, there are things you can do to ensure that your kids are not going to get their hands on drugs and your home is a safe, drug free environment:
Know how much you influence your children: Your children watch what you do and adopt your values. Make sure you set a good example because even though they pretend they aren’t listening, they are!
Keep medications in a safe place: Take the same approach with your medications as you did when your child was a toddler. Teenagers are just as curious as they were when they were toddlers, and peer pressure can be an added driving force. The medicine cabinet may not be the best place to keep your prescriptions out of your child’s hands. Think about locking up your medication and any other substances your children can abuse (cough/cold medicine, dust off, other inhalants, alcohol, etc.)
Monitor your medications: Always know how many pills are in your prescription bottles by keeping a written inventory to keep track.
Dispose of old or unused medications properly: Don’t hold on to prescription medications after they are expired or no longer needed. Check with your local pharmacist or police department on how to properly dispose of unneeded drugs because different drugs need to be disposed in different ways.
Reinforce positive behaviors: Praise your child for having the courage to resist peer pressure, make wise choices and encourage your child to be an independent thinker!
Spend time with your teen: Get to know your teen, their friends, and the parents of their friends. Teens who have a close bond with their parents are less likely to abuse drugs because they will not want to disappoint them.
Spread the word!: Once you have become informed, the best thing you can do is spread your knowledge. Knowledge is power!! Talk to family members, neighbors, and the parents of your children’s friends and encourage them to safeguard their medications. You have the power to save children and prevent them from falling into a life of abusing drugs and becoming addicts. Use it!
To find out more information please visit www.SafeguardMyMeds.com and more about The Courage to Speak Foundation please visit www.couragetospeak.org