This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Emergent BioSolutions. All opinions are 100% mine.
There is something that your tweens & teens aren’t telling you.
My family is very involved in the education system. I am a teacher and therapist, my brother is a high school principal, and my sister-in-law is a middle-school teacher. We’ve seen the shocking truth about what tweens and teens aren’t telling their parents and it’s time to shed some light on it.
My brother, Tim, has had the opportunity to travel to many countries and states, visiting high schools and talking to their administration, staff, and students. I was shocked and terrified by what he has seen and heard. It is the reason I felt that I needed to pass the knowledge onto other parents.
The other day, Tim and I were discussing middle school and high school with our teenage boys. We talked about how it is becoming more and more common for these kids to be doing drugs. I talk about this almost daily in our house – the dangers, the pressures from peers, etc. I don’t want to leave anything off the table.
Our kids said that they know many peers who are vaping and using e-cigs. A friend of the family is all too familiar with this. Two years ago, her son tried vaping in high school and ended up in the hospital, seizing. He now has brain damage. Unfortunately, the vape that he got from his friend was unknowingly laced with a dangerous chemical. There are so many stories of trauma or death from situations like this.
The scary part is that the worst one is what is right under our noses. Young teenagers and even tweens are doing drugs that are in the homes of their friends, family, and maybe even their own homes, right now.
Tweens & Teenagers are experimenting with drugs at a MUCH younger age…
Here’s what your kids need YOU to know:
My brother 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 were the likes of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana; yet, this meeting was focused solely on drugs more readily available to the average teenager or preteen: prescription medicine.
Prescription medication can be found in most households. It is how many accidents occur.
It can even happen by accident…
if a parent has surgery and a child accidentally gets into their prescription pain medication, It can be life-threatening! I’ve heard horror stories about children taking their parents’ medication by accident (thinking it was candy) or older children trying it for the first time, not expecting any harm to come by it.
I don’t wish that kind of heartache on anyone. A majority of prescription pain medications contain opioids. In fact, Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and the reason why it’s important to have NARCAN® on hand and available at schools. NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray is an opioid overdose emergency treatment available directly from your pharmacist. Please see NARCAN®’s Indication and Important Safety Information below or by visiting their website. It’s recommended that parents have NARCAN available if prescription opioid medication is in the home, in case their child should get into it. Many adults have opioid medication on hand after surgery, or to manage pain, but no one thinks that their child or a friend of a child will find it or take it.
This is why I have talked to my kids about never taking anything that is not given to them by my husband or myself.
In fact, CBS News reports that one out of every ten kids ages 12 to 17 is currently a user of illicit drugs, according to a government survey.
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.) Things have certainly changed.
So, today, we are sharing some of that knowledge.
Keep Medications Locked Up
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 opioid pain relievers, 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.
According to Drugfree.org 2/3 of teens who report the abuse of prescription medicine got them from the homes of friends, family, and acquaintances.
The issue that we discussed was the growing trend of teenagers taking prescription medicine. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website, two-thirds of teens who report the abuse of prescription medicine are getting them from friends, family, and acquaintances.
In some cases, kids may not even be aware of the type(s) of medicine that they are ingesting.
Even 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?
Six things to do today.
Here are the six things to do to be proactive and safe.
- Inventory: Check and count the medication that is in the home. Count any prescription medication to ensure that you are aware if any pills go missing.
- Secure: Keep your medication in a locked safe or cabinet. Though this may be inconvenient to lock up our medication, it is worth punching in a six-digit code to ensure that my children or their friends are not able to have access to our medication.
- Talk: I talk to other adults (family and friends) about the growing issue of students using prescription medications since children may be tempted to experiment as they get older. I ask them to lock up any medication because we all have children and this is important.
- CONTINUE TO DISCUSS 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. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is not having conversations with their kids, out of embarrassment.
In addition to prescription medication, I also talk openly with my children about bullying (both sides of it), working hard, and what to do if they see a gun.
Talking to your children is extremely important.
Also, encourage your children to come to you if they need help.
- Do not be judgemental when your children tell you something.
Be open and listen when they tell you things. They trust you and value your advice and opinion, so give it in a kind and understanding way.
- Encourage them to come to you NOW, so they will remember to go to you THEN.
While their problems may seem small when they are very young… one day our children will have more significant problems, and that is when they will need an adult’s wisdom, experience, and problem-solving skills.
- Dispose of medicine: 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. 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.
Be prepared. Just as we would keep an epi-pen on hand, keeping Narcan on hand is your way of being safe. Keep NARCAN on hand. Have NARCAN®, an opioid overdose emergency treatment, in your home and household members know where it is stored. Learn more on how to get NARCANRemember to keep opioids in a locked cabinet, away from children, and ask your doctor or pharmacist how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose.
Although 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.
Mostly – 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. Please see NARCAN® Indication and Important Safety Information below.
Have You Read These Yet?
NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) Nasal Spray Indication and Important Safety Information: What is NARCAN Nasal Spray? NARCAN Nasal Spray is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency with signs of breathing problems and severe sleepiness or not being able to respond. NARCAN Nasal Spray is to be given right away and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Get emergency medical help right away after giving the first dose of NARCAN Nasal Spray, even if the person wakes up. NARCAN Nasal Spray is safe and effective in children for known or suspected opioid overdose.
Important Safety Information: Who should not use NARCAN Nasal Spray? Do not use NARCAN Nasal Spray if you are allergic to naloxone hydrochloride or any of the ingredients in NARCAN Nasal Spray. What is the most important information I should know about NARCAN Nasal Spray? NARCAN Nasal Spray is used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid medicines. The medicine in NARCAN Nasal Spray has no effect in people who are not taking opioid medicines. Always carry NARCAN Nasal Spray with you in case of an opioid overdose. Use NARCAN Nasal Spray right away if you or your caregiver think signs or symptoms of an opioid overdose are present, even if you are not sure, because an opioid overdose can cause severe injury or death. Signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose may include: unusual sleepiness and you are not able to awaken the person with a loud voice or by rubbing firmly on the middle of their chest (sternum). breathing problems including slow or shallow breathing in someone difficult to awaken, or who looks like they are not breathing, the black circle in the center of the colored part of the eye (pupil) is very small, sometimes called “pinpoint pupils,” in someone difficult to awaken. Family members, caregivers, or other people who may have to use NARCAN Nasal Spray in an opioid overdose should know where NARCAN Nasal Spray is stored and how to give NARCAN Nasal Spray before an opioid overdose happens. et emergency medical help right away after giving the first dose of NARCAN Nasal Spray. Rescue breathing or CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) may be given while waiting for emergency medical help. The signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose can return after NARCAN Nasal Spray is given. If this happens, give another dose after 2 to 3 minutes using a new NARCAN Nasal Spray device and watch the person closely until emergency help is received.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before using NARCAN Nasal Spray? Before using NARCAN Nasal Spray, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: have heart problems, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use of NARCAN Nasal Spray may cause withdrawal symptoms in your unborn baby. Your unborn baby should be examined by a healthcare provider right away after you use NARCAN Nasal Spray, are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if NARCAN Nasal Spray passes into your breast milk.
Tell your healthcare provider about the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the- counter medicines, drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. What are the possible side effects of NARCAN Nasal Spray? NARCAN Nasal spray may cause serious side effects including: Sudden opioid withdrawal symptoms which can be severe. In someone who has been using opioids regularly, opioid withdrawal symptoms can happen suddenly after receiving NARCAN Nasal Spray and may include body aches, yawning, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, nervousness, fever, restlessness or irritability, runny nose, shivering or trembling, sneezing, stomach cramping, goosebumps, weakness, sweating, increased blood pressure. Some patients may show aggressive behavior upon abrupt reversal of an opioid overdose. In infants under 4 weeks old who have been receiving opioids regularly, sudden opioid withdrawal may be life-threatening if not treated the right way. Signs and symptoms include seizures, crying more than usual, and increased reflexes. These are not all of the possible side effects of NARCAN Nasal Spray. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Please see full Prescribing InformationNNS CON ISI 08/2020