Just as we think we are making headway on our battle against drug abuse, another potentially, if not already, hazardous situations are staring coldly at our faces. Teen involvement in prescription drug abuse is steadily increasing . As if prescription drug abuse among adults is not bad enough, abusers of these over-the-counter and prescription drugs are getting younger each day. With a reported 2000 teens trying to get into the illegal fray for the first time in a day, teen prescription drug abuse is growing alarmingly.
Prescribed medicines like sedatives, stimulants, tranquilizers and other Over-the-Counter painkillers are indeed helpful for those who are in need. They give relief from pain thus making them a popular choice to promote well-being. However, 20% of the American Population has been using these drugs for non-medical needs. And when they do, that is where the problem starts.
Taking an opioid analgesic will make you feel really good. They are able to produce a worry and pain-free state. It is normally given to people with psychiatric conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety and other similar mental problems. It is very helpful in treating those who suffer from the said condition. But, in the wrong hands, it could be blatantly abused. With teen pressure rocketing sky-high brought about by problems at home, school or community, these could be a perfect alibi for them to shy away from the real world and live in a false reality. These drugs and a lot more are becoming an immediate concern that we need to address fast.
True, parents may be able to tell teens to stay away from it. True, our school system might continue to educate those in class and the LGU’s for those out of school youth. But I personally think it doesn’t mean that our work here is done. In fact, I truly believe that we, as responsible citizens of our country, can do our part on saving our teen populace from the ill effects of prescription drug addiction.
One word springs into mind, and the word is AWARENESS. Several studies show that the primary factor why teens tend to try these drugs for the first time is due to peer pressure. The problem lies on the fact that teenagers nowadays tend to be closer to their buddies than their parents. And without constant “family talks” the communication gap between parents and child would lead the latter to succumb easier to the pressure.
Back in the time when families ate together at one table, it was much easier to talk about problems and finding solutions to it over dinner. It was also time to share experiences and helpful information with the kids. Unfortunately, these habits may seem a distant past right now. So the question is how can we do our part nowadays?
Information dissemination is now easier using the Internet and digital media. Since most of the kids have access online, it is a better medium to publicize the dangerous effects of prescription drug abuse to all including those who have not tried yet and those that are already using.. Using the Internet to promote this advocacy will also mean getting to so many individuals in a short amount of time. For this cause, it’s a win-win situation.
Partnership for a drug free American are looking for families who have been affected by prescription drug abuse to come forward and tell their story for a project called The Medicine Abuse Project (http://www.drugfree.org/newsroom/seeking-medicine-abuse-stories) of Drugfree.org which aims to collect stories from families who have family members that have misused and affected with prescription drugs and over-the-counter drug abuse. By educating the teens about the damaging effects of prescription drug abuse, we may be able to make them change their minds. By monitoring the dispensing of prescription drugs and other OTC medicines in our community, we may be able to shorten the leash on their sources. By safeguarding the proper disposal of unused medications, we may be able to prevent it from landing into the wrong hands. And by eliminating the improper dispensing and prescribing practices of doctors and physicians, we may be able to hold on to or hopes of a drug-free America.
I truly believe that experiences are the best teacher even if it is not your own. If our teens will be able to read these sad stories of addiction, then perhaps their minds will be opened and make them realize of what’s in store for them in the future should they continue to follow the wrong path. I personally aim to have a partnership with other organizations anchored in this common cause of drug abuse prevention among teens. I still believe in the power of unity. By working hand in hand, there is a greater chance of saving more lives and preventing those who are in the brink of addiction from doing so. No effort is so big nor is so small when it comes to fighting drug-abuse. Each one counts and will be greatly appreciated. We can do our part now, or watch America’s future drown in their self-induced destruction. It’s your call. I am working on mine, how about you?
If you wish to donate to drugfree.org or get involved visit their site here http://www.drugfree.org/give-get-involved