WTOP and Hubbard Broadcasting are teaming up with Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to promote education on keeping your kids safe.
Click here to find out how much you know about answering your kids questions about drugs.
As part of The Medicine Abuse Project, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids reminds you of action steps you can take:
Action 1: Three Steps to Safeguard Your Home
Make sure the teens in your life don’t have access to your medicine. Find out how to monitor, secure and properly dispose of unused and expired prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine in your home, and learn more at drugfree.org/MedicineAbuseProject.
Step One: Monitor How aware are you of the quantities that are currently in your home?
- Start by taking note of how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets and keep track of your refills.
- If your teen has been prescribed a medicine, be sure you control the medicine, and monitor dosages and refills.
- Make sure your friends and relatives — especially grandparents — are also aware of the risks. Encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicines.
Step Two: Secure
- Take prescription medicine out of the medicine cabinet and secure them in a place only you know about.
- If possible, keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet your teen cannot access. A good tip would be to safeguard these drugs the same way you would cash or expensive jewelry in your home.
- Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock up their medicine or keep them in a safe place.
Step Three: Dispose
- Take an inventory of all of the medicine in your home. Start by discarding expired or unused Rx and OTC medicine when your teens are not home.
- Teenagers will retrieve discarded prescription medicine from the trash. To help prevent this from happening, mix the medicine with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
- Do not flush medicine down the toilet or sink drain.
- To help prevent unauthorized refills and protect your family’s privacy, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.
- Learn more about safeguarding and disposing of medicine and find a medicine take-back location near you by visiting drugfree.org/MedicineAbuseProject.
Action 2: Know the Signs and Symptoms of Medicine Abuse
The best way to prevent prescription drug abuse is to learn about the issue.
Recognize the symptoms:
- Fatigue, red or glazed eyes, repeated health complaints
- Sudden mood changes, including irritability, negative attitude, personality changes and general lack of interest in hobbies/activities
- Secretiveness and withdrawing from family
- Decreased or obsessive interest in school work
- Missing prescription medicines from your medicine cabinet
- Additional filled prescriptions on your pharmacy record that you did not order
The signs and symptoms of prescription medicine abuse depend on the particular drug. Because of their mind-altering properties, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications/sedatives and stimulants.
Pain Reliever Abuse (Opioid painkillers- used to treat pain)
|Depressant Abuse(Anti-anxiety medication and sedatives)
|Stimulant Abuse (Used to treat ADHD and certainsleep disorders)
|Depression Low blood pressureDecreased breathing rate Confusion SweatingConstricted pupils
|Drowsiness Confusion Poor judgment Dizziness Slurred speechRespiratory depression
Weight loss Agitation Irritability Insomnia
High blood pressure, Irregular heartbeat Anxiety,
When to see a doctor: Talk to your doctor if you think you or someone you know may have a problem with prescription drug use. You may feel embarrassed to talk to your doctor about it — but remember that medical professionals are trained to help you, not judge you. Identifying prescription drug abuse as soon as possible is important. It’s easier to tackle the problem early before it becomes an addiction and leads to more serious problems.
Action Three: Talk to Your Family, Friends and Other Parents
It is important to talk to your kids about the risks of abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get this information at home.
As a parent, teach your teen to:
- Respect the power of medicine and use it properly.
- Recognize that all medicines, including prescription medications, have risks.
- Take responsibility for learning how to take prescription medicines safely and appropriately, and seek help at the first sign of a problem for their own or a friend’s abuse.
Share What You Know:
If you’re a parent, share information with family, friends and neighbors. If you’re a doctor or other health care provider, share educational materials with your patients. If you’re a community leader or law enforcement official, share information with the people in your community. If you’re a teacher, school nurse or administrator, share information with the parents and students in your school.
If You Are a Parent You Should:
- Learn how to say it- Conversations are the most powerful tools parents can use to connect with and protect their kids from the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
- Learn what to say about the dangers of street drugs and alcohol; it’s also essential to address the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter cough medicine.
- Learn how to answer the question, “Did you do drugs?” It isn’t about your past; it’s about your child’s future.
- Learn how to teach your kids to turn down drugs- there’s no way you can shield your kids from finding out that street drugs, alcohol and tobacco exist- but you can help your child reject offers to try them.
Heroin is an epidemic in our society. To find out more about how to end this epidemic click here
The Parents Toll- Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE
This bilingual (English/Spanish) helpline provides concerned callers with valuable information about substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery from addiction. It is staffed by trained parent specialists who take calls on Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST.
At drugfree.org, you will find a wealth of information, tools and opportunities to help prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults.