Teen Drug Abuse
Teens, Gummy Bears, and Vodka equal drug abuse
Just when you think you figured out the teen drug abuse problem, teenagers think up a new way to get high. I heard on a local news report the other day about teens now soaking gummy bears in vodka, so the little pieces of candy become alcoholic mammals. After hearing this, I wonder why kids can’t use this creativity in better ways! Teen drug abuse is increasing faster than parents know how to handle it. What can be done about the teen drug abuse issue now that they are incorporating candies into the equation?
So what are we supposed to do, get rid of all gummy bears in the house to prevent teen drug abuse?
Celebrity addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky addresses the teen drug abuse problem by saying that, for a start, keep all liquor locked up. Also, keep prescription drugs locked up. While the former seems common, the latter is something that likely happens less often. Teens know that they can open that medicine cabinet and use the drugs their parents use—for free. This casually happens all the time: teens will get prescriptions drugs from people they know. In fact, Dr. Drew claims that 64 percent of drugs come from a friend or relative. This makes sense since it is so much easier than going to the guy down the street or behind the park.
While painkillers have obvious benefits for the young consumer, other drugs such as Adderall or Xanax are also abused.
When you suspect your child might be on a drug, it’s hard to know exactly how to bring it up. Usually if a teen has a drug abuse problem, if you ask, they will probably say that they are fine. One suggestion is to speak with a specialist at their school, someone who has training in dealing with drug abuse and other similar matters.
The lock-down box is a good start for anything that might be in the house, because it sends the message that these drugs can do harm. Dr. Drew makes the point that “kids are not dumb: if they have a genuine perception that something is harmful to them, they’re less likely to use it. But, their pre-fontal cortex — the part of the brain that perceives consequences – isn’t fully developed. The casualness with which pills are used in our houses is sending a message to them.”
If anything, we need to casually say how these drugs can really do damage. Any unwanted outcome you can think of can stem from drug abuse, so consequences should be made aware—especially with legal drugs or drugs from a doctor, which may appear to be less harmful because of its packaging.
There are plenty of helpful resources out there that may prove to be useful. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., have teamed up to create Smart Moves, Smart Choices, a national awareness program that informs parents, teens, and educators about teen prescription drug abuse and its serious risks.
Check that website out if you could use help. We all like to get high, but some of us may not realize what damage these drug related highs can do to our health.