Drugs are everywhere! There is a good chance you might not even need to leave your desk or your home before you could find a substance which can induce euphoria. If those drugs are that close to you, they are that close to your teens too.
At Arm’s Length
In most homes there is a ready supply of legal prescription medications which have the potential for abuse. In many categories, prescription drug abuse by teenagers is more common than illicit drugs simply because they are easier to obtain. The signs of prescription drug misuse vary by the drug abused which can make it harder to spot before a user becomes addicted. Unfortunately, most teens and parents believe these drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor. It is a deadly mistake.
OTC—Other Teen Contraband
Within most homes in America are any number of substances teens can abuse. If you have had a cold or cough recently, use mouthwash, or cook with flavored extracts that is all any teenager needs to get high. Other substances such as compressed air, gasoline for the lawn mower, and even nail polish remover could also be used. Most parents never consider the potential for addiction these substances carry. Therefore we do not monitor these substances for signs of misuse. Even if they are not in our homes, stores of any size—from convenience to super—also have a ready supply of these intoxicants which are all legal for minors to purchase.
The dangers of street drugs are well known however with the softening of marijuana legislation in some places we still need to remind our teenagers their growing bodies are not for abuse. If we are still stuck in the general “Don’t do drugs” message with our teens we might not be doing the best job we can. The more teens understand how their growing body reacts to these drugs and how easily it is to become addicted, the better chances we have of keeping them drug free.
Education Is Key
As parents it is our job to keep our kids safe but we cannot even attempt to keep them safe if we do not learn all the ways in which our teens can readily access drugs. If we can educate ourselves, then we stand a chance of doing what is necessary to safeguard these items for our teens. At a minimum, all medications should be locked up and/or monitored. Other substances should not be kept out in the open and should be periodically inspected for signs of misuse. If you do notice signs of misuse, you must seek treatment immediately.
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