Teens and Drug Use: Medicine Abuse

Today, roughly one out of three teenagers knows someone who has abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high.

Studies show that abuse of prescription and OTC medicines is a problem among today’s teens. Teens might abuse OTC cough medicine because it is affordable and easily available, and teens may believe it is “less dangerous” than illegal drugs. Today, roughly one out of three teenagers knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get high.

While millions of Americans rely on OTC cough medicines containing the cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM) for cough relief, some teens ignore labelling instructions and intentionally take large amounts of DXM – sometimes more than 25 times the recommended dose of these medicines – to get high. This means some teens ingest multiple packages or bottles of OTC cough medicines.
Learn the side effects  and warning signs  to make sure OTC cough medicine abuse does not go unnoticed in your home.

Learn more at StopMedicineAbuse.org and follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

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Need help with your teenager, contact www.helpyourteens.com.

Drug Use and Your Teenager: 10 Warning Signs

Parent denial is very common. Not one parent wants to admit that their own child may be drifting off in a negative direction. However if you ignore the obvious signs, you are no better than condoning this substance abuse.

Tips to help prevent substance abuse:
 
1. Communication is the key to prevention. Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs, take it to start a conversation.
2. Have a conversation not a confrontation. If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them. Don’t judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn’t opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
3. Addict in the family? Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives. With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
4. Don’t be a parent in denial. There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using. I firmly believe that keeping your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment. However don’t be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn’t be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to number one – talk, talk, talk – remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don’t want to.
5. Do you know what your teen is saying? Listen or watch on texts or emails for code words for certain drug lingo. Skittling, Tussing, Skittles, Robo-tripping, Red Devils, Velvet, Triple C, C-C-C-, Robotard are some of the names kids use for cough and cold medication abuse. Weed, Pot, Ganja, Mary Jane, Grass, Chronic, Buds, Blunt, Hootch, Jive stick, Ace, Spliff, Skunk, Smoke, Dubie, Flower, Zig Zag are all slang for marijuana.
6. Leftovers. Are thereempty medicine wrappers or bottles, burn marks on their clothes or rug, ashes, stench, etc in their room or if they own a car, in their car?Teens (and tweens) either take several pills or smash them so all of it is released at once. Be sure to check all pockets, garbage cans, cars, closets, under beds, etc. for empty wrappers and other evidence of drug use. Where are your prescription drugs? Have you counted them lately?
7. Body language. Tune into changes in your teen’s behavior.Changing peer groups, altering their physical appearance and/or lack of hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns changing, hostile and uncooperative attitude (defiance), missing money or other valuables from the home, sneaking out of the house, etc.
8. Access to alcohol. Look around your home, is there liquor that is easily accessible? Teens admit getting alcohol is easy-and the easiest place to get it is in their home. Know what you have in the house and if you suspect your teen is drinking, lock it up! Talk to them about the risks of drinking, especially if they are driving.
9. Seal the deal. Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) www.saddonline.com provides a free online contract to download. It may help them pause just the second they need to not get behind that wheel.
10. Set the example, be the example. What many parents don’t realize is that you are the leading role model for your teen. If your teen sees you smoking or drinking frequently, what is the message you are sending? Many parents will have a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, however the teen needs to understand you are the adult, and there is a reason that the legal drinking age is 21.

Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs? Have you exhausted all your local resources? Take the time to learn about residential therapy, visit www.HelpYourTeens.com. Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts in can help, starting with a free consultation.

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Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Home 2 Homeroom: A Wake Up Call for Parents

Parenting teens is a challenge today.

Schools and parents today need to work together to help prevent teen drug use.

Fast Facts: Preventing Teen OTC Cough Medicine Abuse – From Home to Homeroom

A Wake Up Call for Parents

  • Thirty-three percent of American high school teens know someone who has abused cough medicine, a wake up call for those parents who think that their teen is not affected or being exposed to the issue.
  • Six percent of high school teens admit to abusing cough medicine containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to get high in the past year.

Cough Medicine Abuse Does Not Happen By Accident

  • While safe and effective when taken as directed, teens looking to get high from cough medicine take excessive amounts, sometimes 25 to 50 times the recommended dosage. This translates to multiple bottles or packages of medicine at one time.
  • Teens often abuse cough medicines with other prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol.
  • Even the best kid in the world doesn’t have the same ability as adults to assess risk because the part of their brain that processes risk, the frontal cortex, doesn’t finish developing until their mid 20s.

Parents Have the Power to Keep Teens Drug-free

  • Research shows that kids who learn a lot from their parents about the risk of drug abuse are up to half as likely to use.
  • Parents are not alone in their fight to prevent medicine abuse; reaching out to the school nurse can help parents learn more about the issue and access local resources.
  • Parents can learn more about the Home to Homeroom campaign by logging onto www.StopMedicineAbuse.org

Parents can interact and help raise awareness by joining online communities including:

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SIZZURP – Cough Syrup Teen Drug Abuse

What will teens come up with next to get high from?  Why don’t some of them understand the dangers of substance abuse – the risks that come with even experimenting with some of these drugs?  We just heard about the alcoholic whipped cream, now we have this next trend.

PACT Coalition of St. Johns County, FL sends out a newsletter. It always has valuable information.  This week it informed parents about Sizzurp.  What is it????

This was their trend for the week:

We’ve had several requests for information about cough syrup abuse recently. This is a good reminder to keep a close eye on the items in the medicine cabinet. Cough syrup is a main ingredient of Sizzurp. This is a mixed drink which consists of codeine cough syrup, a fruit flavored soda and often a Jolly Rancher. The codeine causes a feeling of euphoria which can impair driving, cause lethargy and extreme tiredness. Pop culture has embraced this trend in many songs and movies.

During this month – Partnership at DrugFree.org has also rolled out their campaign – You Are Not Alone.

Many parents are more fearful of the stigma attached to having a teen use drugs than they are concerned for the teen that is using the drugs.  It is time to stop being a parent in denial -know that  you are not alone, and there is help and resources to get your teenager the help they need.

Get involved today!

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/youarenotalone

Drug Guide: http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/drug_chart_10.25.10_opt.pdf

Parents Toll-Free Helpline:  1-855-DRUGFREE

If you have any further questions, partnership ideas or comments, please feel free to email us at youarenotalone@drugfree.org.

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