My brother, Dr. Timothy Hoffman, is the principal of a (highly-desirable) charter high-school in our area. His wife, Jill, is a teacher at a middle-school, so they have been around tweens & teenagers for many years. They also have two children of their own (that I write about often): Dylan & Lia.
(Here is Tim with Lia)
(Here is ALL of us at the beach)
The other day we were talking about how these kids are doing drugs- middle and high-school kids.
I don’t think that I knew anyone that was doing drugs when I was in school (and if they were- I was oblivious to it.) However, I was astounded by some of the info that Tim gave me. So, today, he is sharing some of that knowledge with us…
Take it away, Tim…
Tweens & Teenagers are experimenting with drugs at a MUCH younger age… Here’s what your kids need you to know:
“I had the unique opportunity to attend a public service meeting at our local police department. At this meeting were representatives from several local schools, churches and other concerned citizens in the local community all coming together to learn about the issue of teenagers and pre-teens experimenting with drugs.
Now, one may think that the drugs being discussed where the likes of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana; yet, this meeting was focusing solely on drugs more readily available to the average teenagers or preteen: prescription medicine.
Prescription medication can be found in most households. Many people have current or old medicine that was prescribed for a variety of reasons. I know in our house, we keep our medication up high, but we also keep some in our bathroom medicine cabinets. This cabinet has no lock and stays closed with the assistance of a two inch magnet.
As I looked through the medication, I found bottles of pills designed to calm nerves, an old bottle of that can be classified as a narcotic pain reliever, amongst others. I never counted the pills, so I could not tell you how many pills were in each bottle. I didn’t know if it was expired or not. In examining my medicine cabinet, it was evident that I was setting the stage for a major temptation as my children get older. Not just for them, but for their friends, as well.
The issue that we discussed was the growing trend of teenagers taking prescription medicine.
According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website, two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances. In some cases, students may not even aware of the type(s) of medicine that they are ingesting. The thought of one of my children taking one or multiple pills from my medicine cabinet scared me to death. Kids are curious… they hear about taking medication from friends and they have a curiosity that may lead them to make a poor decision. Why make it tempting for them? Why give them the opportunity?
I immediately and did FIVE things.
- Inventory: I went home and counted the medication that we had. I now know exactly how many pills are in our home. This action will ensure that I will be aware if any pills go missing.
- Secured: I got online and bought a safe to keep all of our pills in. Though this may be inconvenient to lock up our medication, it is when worth punching in a six digit code to ensure that my children or their friends are not able to walk into our bathroom and have access to our medication.
- Talk: I spoke openly with my relatives and friends that my children visit on a regular basis including my sister, parents, in-laws and neighbors. I discussed the growing issue of students using prescription medication and my concern that my children (even if they act like angels now!) may be tempted to experiment as they get older. I asked them all to lock up any medication. If they did not want to do this daily, I requested that they respect our wish and complete this action when we visit.
- Talk: I CONTINUE TO DISCUSS THIS ISSUE WITH MY CHILDREN. I talk to them about medicine such as when someone should take medicine, what to do if they find a bottle, etc. I try to be open and honest and with my children. In addition to prescription medication, I also talk openly with my children about bullying, working hard and what to do if they see a gun. Talking to your children is extremely important.
- Dispose: During this meeting, I learned that our local police stations have a lockbox where an individual can dispose of old medication 24 hours a day. Upon learning this, I located all of the medication that we no longer used and took it to the police station. This action was incredibly easy and I know that we do not have any medication in our house that we are not currently taking. By properly disposing of medication allows for me to be more diligent in inventorying our medication. I no longer have to worry or check medication that we don’t need because it is no longer in our house.
Though this article focused on prescription medication, PLEASE also talk to your teenagers and preteens about over the counter medication as they present some of the same dangers as prescription medication.”
Remember – kids take drugs for the first time out of curiosity or peer pressure… they don’t intend to become addicted, but it happens and it can be a life-long problem. Help your child now by taking preventive steps in your home and by talking to them.
Thanks to my brother for sharing this with us! Here is another post that I wrote, but it was inspired by him: