The audience I will be addressing is parents, caregivers and school educators about the dangers of prescription drugs and how we can better educate teenagers and young adults on the dangers of abusing them. There are many ways that we can teach and educate our teenagers and young adults, but it’s important that families, schools and communities are involved. The rate of prescription drug overdose among teenagers and young adults have sky rocketed over the past several years. This has become a growing epidemic and if we don’t step in and do something, this problem will only get worse.
No parent or caregiver ever wants to lose a child and it can be especial harder knowing that you could have helped prevent it. Some people say it’s the schools job to education this subject and others say that education starts at home. Where can our parents/caregivers get the information they need to help better understand the problem itself and to help safe guard their children? Who would be the best influence to talk to our teens and young adults? In my essay I will explain why it’s so important that schools and parents/caregivers need to both educate and talk to our young adults and teens. 205) Kara Gordon Prescription Drug Abuse among Teens and Young Adults Prescription drug misuse and overdose among teens and young adults is one of the fastest growing health epidemics in the United States. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over whom used drugs for the first time began by using a prescription drug non-medically.
The amount of controlled substances dispensed and used non medically is scary considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that opioid drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, caused more than 15,500 overdose deaths in 2010 and that number is increasing. Parents/caregivers and educators need to action and educate our children before it’s too late. Informing teens and young adults about the dangers of taking prescription drugs that don’t belong to them could save their lives.
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Teens and young adults have chosen prescription drugs as their drug of choice because it is less expensive as illegal drugs like cocaine or marijuana, and more easily accessible. All they need to do is walk into their own bathroom and look into the medicine cabinet. It’s sitting in plain sight for the taking. They don’t realize the danger of taking prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them. They think because it was prescribed by a doctor that it must be safe.
Teens and young adults also feel that, ”Parents don’t care as much if they get caught using prescription drugs, without a doctor’s prescription, than they do if they get caught using illegal drugs” (PR Newswire 4/23/13) like cocaine or marijuana. The most commonly known and used prescription pills that teens and young adults abuse are Vicodin, Oxycontin, Adderall, and Ritalin. There are also designer drugs such as “K2”, “Spice” and “bath salts. ” These designer drugs can be extremely dangerous because they haven’t been tested or approved and you are basically experimenting on your own body.
When teens and young adults use these types of prescription drugs, most people think that they are looking to get high. This is not always the case. “Teens abuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons, including to get high, to treat pain, or because they think it will help them with school work. Boys and girls tend to abuse some types of prescription drugs for many different reasons. ” (Bethesda) Like, boys are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants to get high, while girls tend to abuse them to stay alert or to lose weight.
Teens and young adults realize when they have taken to many pills until it’s too late. “Some of the signs or symptoms they may poses are an altered mental state, confusion, slurred speech excited delirium or agitation, sweating and out of control. ”(Knudson) They may be unable to breathe on their own. If you notice any of these symptoms you should take them to the emergency room immediately. It is better to have them looked at by a physician than not at all. As parents and caregivers it’s your job to make sure that your prescription drugs are stored in their proper place at your home.
Just like guns, they need to be locked up and out of reach of your loved ones. Therefore does not provide them the opportunity or means to get them. We also need to “take the opportunity to clean out our medicine cabinets and safely dispose of unwanted drugs. ” (PR Newswire 2013) There are several ways that you can properly dispose of your prescriptions drugs and one way is to use medication disposal envelopes. This is a postage-paid envelope that allows people to mail their unwanted or unused prescriptions to a licensed, secure facility for safe destruction.
Another way is through a National Drug Take Back Day. Communities will hold these take back days to provide a safe, convenient and secure means of drug disposal. This is usually run by law enforcement or municipal agencies. Education is also a key ingredient to help protecting our children from prescription drug abuse. Almost a decade ago schools were more focused on keeping students from misusing alcohol and illegal street drugs like ecstasy, heroin and cocaine that there was never a concern to even speak about prescription drugs.
After a study held by the Centers of Disease Control in 2009, it showed that teens as early as eleven years old were taking prescription medicine at was not prescribed to them. “Prevention of adolescent drug use has never been more important and response to this alarming trend, “Wake UP” was formed as a community education campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of abusing prescription drugs and to prevent first time use by teens and young adults. (PR Newswire 2012) This program was created by The Pain Truth, a charitable organization that started two years ago as an effort to education our children to make better decisions when opportunities of prescription drug abuse are given. This campaign is provided to all schools and communities at no cost. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs knows no boundaries and requires a comprehensive response that engages all elements and influencers of a teenager’s life. ” This was stated by Paul Barsky, the head of Upper School at Francis Parker School. What better way to sum up this essay.
There are thousands of teens and young adults out there abusing prescription drugs right now. It is our job as parents, caregivers, and educators to do everything in our power to teach our teens and young adults everything we can about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies in 2012 reported that among Indiana residents ages 12 to 17, 8. 2% used prescription pain medications for nonmedical purposes in the past year; Indiana’s percentage was statistically similar to the nation’s 6. %. The Indiana College Substance Use Survey that was conducted in 2011 showed 11. 3% of Indiana College students used prescription medications not prescribed to them in the past year, with 6. 2% currently using and 3. 8% of Indiana college students misused their prescription medication in the past year, with 1. 4% of students reporting current misuse. That is why it is so important that we reach out to our children and communicate and education them as best we can. You never know that the next child’s life that is saved could be our own. (1069)
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