Parents Advised: Drug Use up among Kids, Teens

The head of a non-profit group that helps kids and teens reject substance abuse says the problem of prescription drug abuse by young people is spinning out of control.

The federal government reports that children as young as 12 are trying or using prescription medications non-medically. Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, says the situation is growing worse because kids are being exposed to a great deal of misinformation. He says many teens believe they can get away with using otherwise beneficial products in a form for which they were not intended. That, Pasierb says, is literally a form of “Russian roulette.”

The problem, he says, that many of the prescription drugs are formulated for a fully grown adult. “So when you have a teenager taking them, developmentally they are very different, [and] body sizes are very different,” Pasierb explains. “Some of these tablets are [formulated for] a one or two dosage; we see teenagers taking three, four, five.”

In addition, he says, the Internet is home to a number of websites that describe the recommended levels of misuse of these products so children can achieve “the right kind of buzz.”

Pasierb warns parents to keep an eye out for products in their home that could be potentials for teen drug misuse and abuse. But he says moms and dads need to do more than just monitor household products.

“If you've got a prescription pain reliever in your medicine cabinet, you need to be aware of what you've put there, and perhaps you want to pay closer attention to that,” he explains, adding that there are symptoms parents can watch for.

“In terms of signs and symptoms, they really run the gamut &#0151 if a kid is abusing dextromethorphan [a non-addictive cough suppressant widely used in over-the-counter cough and cold medicine], they come through sick to their stomach, looking and appearing drunk,” he says. “[And] some of the pain medications … give a child a depressed, down look.”

Pasierb says the best thing all parents can do is to have an active and ongoing conversation with their children about the “who, what, where, when, and why” of their life, as well as setting the standard that drug use and misuse is not acceptable.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

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