What can parents do when the "pusher man" has become an easy to access online website selling potent drugs without the need for a prescription?
It’s a scary time to be a parent, and while parents of every generation may have felt the same way, with the incredibly easy access to drugs that today’s teens have, parents often feel a bit overwhelmed at how to protect their impressionable teens from dangerous pharmaceutical abuse. A quick survey of internet pharmacies proves that there is little that cannot be bought through the services of an illegitimate pharmacy located out of the country.
Oxycontin, hydrocone, xanax, and benzodiazepines are just a few of the many drugs that are but a mouse click away.
Pharmaceutical abuse is rising, and while yesterday’s teens may have raided the family liquor cabinet, today’s teens can easily supply their own drug needs through online ordering or even through the misuse of over the counter medications. These drugs are pretty scary too; some of them are very addictive, and some of them are very risky for dangerous overdoses, especially when taken in conjunction with other pills or with alcohol, which research indicates is a very common practice. The misuse or abuse of these pharmaceuticals is misperceived as relatively safe and harmless, and does not carry the stigma associated with the usage of "illicit drugs" such as heroin, marijuana or LSD; but these drugs are just as dangerous as illicit drugs, and are also very addictive, and with an estimated 6 million Americans currently addicted to pills, the danger of a crippling and potential destroying addiction is very real…and very scary.
So what can we as parents do?
Try to monitor your teen’s internet activities, and be very suspicious of any activity at online pharmacy websites, or drug info related sites. Most teens get the information on dosages that they need from the internet, from sources that may or may not be providing credible and safe information. Be aware of any pharmaceutical paraphernalia. Empty bottles of cough syrup, empty pill wrappers, or other such medication related debris are not normally carried around, and probably indicate at the very least some experimentation with pharmaceuticals. Educate your teens as to the risks involved with using pharmaceuticals, and make sure that they are aware of the dangers and the possibility of death. Don’t keep a lot of old and unused medications hanging about in the medicine cabinet. If you’re finished with the pills but have some remaining, dispose of them properly. Also, be aware of the quantities of medicines used regularly, and if you seem to be refilling prescriptions for certain drugs more often than you think that you should…this may indicate a problem.
Be involved and try to be a part of your teen’s life. It can be difficult to determine whether changes in behavior are a normal part of adolescence, are in fact caused by something more sinister, but by staying active in your teen’s life, you are in a better position to spot trouble before things get serious. We as parents can only educate our kids as to the dangers, be on the lookout for trouble, and hope for the best. It is truly a frightening time to be the parent of a teenage kid.