Is your prescription available for pickup?

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By Sharla Whitt

As summer arrives, children and teens find themselves with more time on their hands and often less supervised by parents and other adults.  As parents, we must safeguard our homes and our children from access to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.  Prescription drug abuse is rising in popularity across the country.  So, parents, is your prescription available for pickup?

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that teens across the country are starting to sell and abuse prescription drugs more than other illicit street drugs with the exception of marijuana.  According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (most recent available), every day, more than 2,000 kids age 12 to 17 try a painkiller nonmedically for the first time.

Locally, prescription drug abuse is still relatively low according to the most recent student survey of teens in both school districts.  We must be proactive as parents and community members to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of our children and teens in order to prevent abuse from becoming a major problem.

What most people don’t realize is that prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs.  Kids who would never try street drugs might feel safe abusing prescription drugs.  Parents have a direct impact on the access to prescription drugs and can take immediate steps to protect their children from the dangers by following a few simple steps.

1. Safeguard all drugs at home.  Monitor quantities and control access.  Ask friends and family to do the same.

2. Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including “Don’t share medicine,” and “Always follow the medical provider’s advice and dosages.”  Since many children’s medicine is flavored to make it taste better, talk to them about the purpose and correct times to take medicine.

3. Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines.

4. Properly dispose of old or unneeded medicines. 

Don’t let your prescriptions be available for pick-up by your children or teens!  When you talk to your kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol, include prescription and over-the-counter drugs in the conversation.  To learn more, visit www.THEANTIDRUG.com.  (Some information for this article was taken from resources found at www.theantidrug.com.) 

To find out about local resources and how you can be involved, visit www.hccares.org or contact the Henry County CARE Team at 502-878-0001.  The CARE Team is a local coalition of community members who work together to prevent underage substance use/abuse and to nurture stronger families in Henry County.  Everyone is welcome to attend monthly meetings held the second Wednesday of the month at noon at the Henry County Public Library.