Parents worry about their teens all the time, especially when it comes to drug use. Although the drugs teens are most likely to use include tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, rates of prescription drug abuse are on the rise. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month. But the source for these drugs isn’t coming from their own doctors or from the internet—more often, it’s coming right from the medicine cabinets in their own homes. Here’s how to protect your teen.
Lock Up Your Pills
It’s an unfortunate fact that a bottle of prescription opiates is tempting for many teens. Even if your own teen isn’t interested in taking them, friends they invite over to your house may be. It’s common among many teens to rifle through the medicine cabinets at friends’ houses, looking for pills. Stop this temptation in its tracks by storing your old prescription bottles in places that are difficult to find or access. Personal electronic safes are relatively inexpensive and are an excellent way to protect your prescription bottles.
Keep an Open Dialogue
Communication between parents and teens is often difficult. You may find that your teen doesn’t open up about much. Some methods of trying to talk to your teen are more successful than others. Avoid discussions in which you assume that your child is abusing drugs, which will put them on the defensive. Instead, try a more neutral approach, such as asking your teen what his or her friends do on the weekends or how they choose to have fun. Teens are often more likely to talk about what their friends are doing rather than what they themselves are doing.
When You Suspect Your Teen is Using Drugs
Sometimes you have pretty well-founded suspicions that your teen might be abusing drugs. Teens are becoming independent and resent being lectured, but that doesn’t mean you need to take a hands-off approach. Avoid putting your teen in a position where they can deny using drugs. Instead, be encouraging and remind them that you care and they can tell you anything. Many young people are more receptive to open-ended conversation starters, such as “what would you like to change about your situation?”
When you’re certain that your teen has a drug problem and needs help, it’s important that you don’t take this on as a do-it-yourself project. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that parents use incentives to motivate their teens to seek treatment from a qualified professional counselor. Professional counselors have specific training to help them work with teens who need treatment.
What are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse in Young People?
Treatment Choices for Your Teen
Finding the right treatment program for your teen can be extremely useful in helping them avoid a lifetime of drug abuse. Getting off drugs can be a scary thought for many people, including teens. You can reassure your teen that treatment centers are designed to help them get better and to be as comfortable as possible.
If your teen is addicted to opiates, they may need to go through a medically supervised detox process. A suboxone detox uses the medication suboxone to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Suboxone is a drug that combines buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid, with naloxone, which blocks the ability of opiates to attach to the receptor sites. A suboxone detox minimizes a lot of the physical discomfort typically associated with opiate withdrawal.
Even if your teen has gone to rehab before, it doesn’t mean that the other time(s) failed. Rehab programs teach skills which can be built upon and reinforced. Addiction is a chronic disease and relapses are not unusual in other chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma. It’s important to reassure your teen that you and other loved ones are standing by, offering support and encouragement.
When you’re ready to help your teen fight against drug addiction, call the treatment center today at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? . You’ll be glad you did.