Did you know that prescription drugs are the fastest growing drug problem in the United States? Many people think illicit drugs, such as heroin or methamphetamine, are the real problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, since 1999 the number of overdose related deaths have more than quadrupled. It is quickly becoming a nationwide problem that needs to be addressed.

Unfortunately, more and more kids are becoming exposed to prescription drugs. Although studies show that the rate of prescription drug abuse has decreased in teens, the age at which they are being introduced to drugs is even younger than in past years. Many parents ask, “is there really a problem then?” The truth is that many youth don’t really know the risks of abusing these prescription drugs. They think because it’s a prescribed medication from a doctor that it’s not going to do any harm. The Foundation for a Drug Free World International Statistics tells readers that depressants, opioids and antidepressants are responsible for more overdose deaths than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines combined. Most people don’t know these facts.

As a parent, it’s important to be involved in every single part of your child’s life. Research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations. Joseph Califano, the founder of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse states, “America’s drug problem is not going to be solved in courtrooms or legislative hearing rooms by judges and politicians. It will be solved in living rooms and dining rooms and across kitchen tables — by parents and families.” Parents are really an influence in their teenager’s life. It’s critical for parents to be connected to their children from an early age to reduce their chances of experimenting with drugs. It’s true that friends and peers are an influence to teens when they are away from home, but if boundaries and rules are being put in place from home then your child’s chances of abusing drugs will be very low compared to those teens that don’t have those parents that place rules.

Being aware of what’s going on in the drug world can be a bit stressful, and at times it can be hard to keep yourself updated because you hear about a new drug on the news almost every week. Nowadays it’s highly important for parents to be more aware of what their children do and who they hang out with. There are many resources and tons of tips on how to keep you aware. The more informed the better. You can find more information at drugfree.org or drugabuse.gov

Do you have prescription medication that you no longer need taking up space in your medicine cabinet? You can now dispose of any unneeded prescription medications using a pre-stamped, mail back envelope available at multiple locations throughout Inyo County. Check out this flyer from the Addictions Taskforce:

Mail Back Program Flyer 3.2.18