16 Aug Find Out Ways You Can Protect Your Teen From Prescription Drug Abuse
No parent wants to learn about their teenager messing around with prescription drugs. While drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and more get a lot of headlines, prescription drug abuse is just as much of a problem worldwide.
It’s also often harder to detect, with prescription drugs more accessible and legal in some instances. There’s also the opportunity for them to hide in plain sight.
What are some of the most proactive ways to protect your teenager from prescription drug abuse? Let’s look at some steps parents can take and signs to look out for if a problem exists.
Talk It Out
As simple as it might sound, there are way too many parents who simply don’t talk to their children about drug abuse. Whether it’s prescription or recreational drug abuse, it’s an issue that seemingly grows yearly.
It might not be the most comfortable conversation a parent can have with their kids, but it lets teenagers know you are aware of what’s happening and are there to help. Talking earlier than expected can help teenagers understand that they are not alone.
Assuming that teenagers know everything about the dangers of prescription drug abuse is generally the wrong way of thinking. Teenagers may not like to be told right from wrong, but education can be an eye-opener in many ways.
If you don’t feel like doing a lot of educating, there are alternative ways to get that same information to them. Schools are doing a better job of providing prescription drug abuse education. The same goes for separate courses or groups.
Bringing in someone who’s lived through the struggle of being addicted to prescription drugs firsthand is a great way to illustrate what going down the wrong path can lead to.
At ViewPoint, we understand the struggles parents face with education. We provide great resources to help students overcome the effects of substance abuse while also providing education to steer teenagers away from falling into those traps after returning home.
Be a Good Influence
Teenagers mimic their parents in many ways. Countless studies show that children seeing parents abuse prescription drugs are more likely to grow up and experiment. One of the best decisions a parent can make to protect their teen from these challenges is ensuring your behaviors match what you teach them.
Parents sometimes don’t realize they’ve started abusing prescription drugs until a third party points it out to them. An example is if a parent has gone through major surgery.
They may use prescription drugs as a way not to feel as much pain, but they use them longer than the recommendation. Before realizing it, they gradually start abusing drugs to feel a certain way.
If you’re currently abusing prescription drugs, you need to get help now. If teens see their parents taking the proper steps to heal, it is a huge influence for good.
Safeguard the Home
The home should be where there are no temptations regarding prescription drug abuse. That means storing prescriptions securely, monitoring the number of drugs in the home, disposing unnecessary medication, and more.
When drugs linger around the home unaccounted for, they can be a huge temptation to use recreationally or as a way to sell or trade for other drugs.
Keeping prescription medication in a secure location will reduce these temptations to try them in the first place.
Monitor Internet Usage
A lot of teenagers will do research online before they dive into something. They might be looking up what prescription drugs do as far as a high is concerned and where to buy them online without a valid prescription.
There’s always a fine line for a parent to watch out for between internet usage and giving their teen space, as anyone can use the internet for both good and bad.
Good communication with your teen about the trouble you can get into on the internet and setting boundaries on the device will help you find that fine line between giving them their space and looking out for them. Since they sometimes don’t know where to find the help they need, you can be there.
Similar to safeguarding the home, there should be a constant tracking system regarding medication for everyone in the family, from the other children to even pet medications. The most common type of abuse comes from medication a teenager already has access to.
Maybe they were prescribed pain medication after oral surgery, but that’s only supposed to be for a specific time. Once that time passes, they must get rid of the remaining drugs.
Tracking any complex medicine in the cabinet for others is also very important. Common prescription drugs are abused more than others, so pay close attention to those.
Strong pain medications like painkillers, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines all remain popular.
Listen to Friends and Family
Even if you don’t want to hear it, there are times when friends and family provide the best insight possible when it comes to a teenager abusing drugs. They might see early warning signs, such as a change in behavior or hanging out with different types of people.
It’s easy to be in denial at first. Looking into the situation will clarify. Most friends and family members aren’t trying to be the wrong person. They just look out for those they care about.
Is There Any Way to Avoid Prescription Drug Abuse Altogether?
Even when following all these tips and watching for warning signs, there are still opportunities for teenagers to obtain and abuse drugs. As frustrating as it might be, the key for parents is to stay engaged.
The more distant you are with a teenager, the harder it is to have a pulse on what they’re up to.
The team at ViewPoint Center works with kids who’ve had drug abuse in their past. It’s easier to stop bad habits immediately before they get out of hand than to let them linger for years.
Take steps now to lessen the odds of prescription drug abuse later.