Children and Prescription DrugsAugust 27 | Posted by editor | News, Towns Tags: Towns County Sheriff’s Office
Hiawassee, GA – The following information was gathered from various sources and compiled in the hope that it might be helpful to parents.
In a 2005 survey, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that 19% of U.S. teenagers reported taking prescription drugs “to get high”.
Opiate-based narcotics are particularly popular. University of Michigan in 2005 found that nearly ten percent of 12th-graders had used Vicodin, while more than five percent said they had used OxyContin, in the previous year. Prescription drugs are now more popular among high school seniors than Ecstasy and cocaine, they being abused at an alarming rate. Even drugs you might not associate with “getting high,” such as those used to treat anxiety disorders, such as Xanax and Valium.
Often prescription pills are seen as less dangerous, sometimes they are just easier to get. Studies show that many teens get prescription drugs from their very own parents’ medicine cabinets. These prescription drugs are also worth a lot of money to drug abusers. The estimated street value of just one OxyContin pill is about $40.
In May 2002 the Associated Press reported that authorities at a high school in Mahomet, Illinois discovered 16 students distributing Ritalin, OxyContin, and hydrocodone to other students. The school principal was alerted to the students’ activities after he received a phone call from a parent who believed his son might have taken OxyContin from the parent’s medicine cabinet. According to the school superintendent, the students were selling their own medication or medication belonging to their parents or siblings.
The most important thing we as parents can do to prevent our children from misusing prescription medications is to educate ourselves. Be aware of the medications kids are abusing and share this with other parents, specifically your school administrators, coaches and counselors. Then, talk to your kids to find out if they are aware of their peers using medications without doctors’ orders. Make sure they understand the dangers of misusing prescription medications. Finally, safeguard medications at home. Pay attention to quantities of medications you have, specifically those with epinephrine, including cough syrups and allergy medications. Epinephrine is used to treat cardiac arrest and is a bronchodilator for asthma. The “high” teens get from epinephrine is similar to an adrenaline rush.
Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit street drugs. It’s not just a matter of over-dosing, but mixing different drugs, or combining drugs and alcohol; this can be deadly. Teenagers need to know that it is illegal to use, or to provide someone else with, a prescription drug that has not been prescribed specifically for them.
By working together we can better keep our children safe from the dangers of drug abuse. I have a deep concern for the young people of Towns County and our sheriff’s office is committed to doing all we can to safeguard our children. If you have any information about those involved in the distribution of drugs, or you have questions about keeping your child safe, please call us at 706-896-4444. You may also leave an anonymous message on our tip line at 706/896-3697.
For more information about the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, you can visit online at www.towncountysheriffsoffice.com.