Parents: Prescription Drugs
Most people take medicines only for the reasons their doctors prescribe them. But an estimated 20 percent of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. This is prescription drug abuse. It is a serious and growing problem.
Abusing some prescription drugs can lead to addiction.
Experts don’t know exactly why this type of drug abuse is increasing. The availability of drugs is probably one reason. Doctors are prescribing more drugs for more health problems than ever before. Online pharmacies make it easy to get prescription drugs without a prescription, even for our youth.
Statement of the Youth Problem
Data gathering on this topic is in its infancy, but we have seen a disturbing increase in the number of Fayette County youth who report that they have intentionally misused prescription drugs. For local data on youth misuse, click on this link: 2010 KIP (Kentucky Incentives for Prevention) Survey Results – Fayette County
Parent Guide: Click here to download a prescription drug guide for parents that includes disposal methods, effects, brain information, positive activities for youth, and relevant laws and ordinances.
What are we doing about the problem?
Because this is an emerging issue, there isn’t a lot of hard data available to help us implement effective strategies. Our group has been gathering local data through various surveys within the community.
Parent Survey was conducted in December 2011 and results are now being tabulated and analyzed. Check back for a complete report when it becomes available.
Emergency Room Physician Survey was conducted early in 2011. This survey asked doctors about their use of the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system. KASPER is a statewide electronic database for physicians and pharmacies to log and track prescription usage and monitor for potential abuses. Based on a belief that this important tool in the fight against prescription drug abuse is being under-utilized, we launched our survey. Click here for a full report on those findings.
What you can do to help
In your home:
Take a tour of your house and follow these guidelines:
- Take prescriptions out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you know about
- Keep all medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, in a safe place such as a locked cabinet so only you have access
- Tell relatives, especially the elderly, to lock their medicines and keep them in a safe place
- Talk to the parents of your teen’s friends. Encourage them to secure their medications
- Inventory your prescription drugs regularly – Know how many pills are there at all times
- Discard expired or unused prescription drugs. Mix the medication with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or cat litter; OR take advantage of community drug take-back days held several times a year by local officials
- Prevent unauthorized refills and protect yourself and your family’s privacy by removing any personal identifying information from bottles or packaging before discarding them
- Download this FREE resource: Protect Your Prescriptions flyer
Take a stand and talk with your teens
- Talk with your child, set limits; be a positive role model.
- Who is the most powerful influence in your child’s life? You, that’s who, according to the Partnership at DrugFree.org For more information, see: http://www.drugfree.org/prevent
- Also see Parents, the Anti-Drug at http://www.theantidrug.com/advice/safeguarding-and-monitoring/conversation-tips/default.aspx
- The Fayette Co. Code of Conduct lists the expectations around student behavior at school as well as the consequences associated with not following these codes.
http://www.fcps.net/media/50748/code of conduct.pdf
In the community:
- Talk to your doctor about their commitment to using the KASPER monitoring system on all patients receiving prescriptions. If they use it regularly, thank them! If they’re not using it, please encourage them to do so… Make sure they know how much it means to you and your family for them to be active participants in the fight against prescription drug abuse in our communities.
- Become a Campus Champion and help spread the drug-free message in your neighborhood school.
- Contact us to see how you can become involved in our coalition activities.
- Keep track of our local efforts through the coalition calendar on our homepage.
If addiction or abuse of prescription drugs is suspected a person should not attempt to stop taking prescription medications on their own. Withdrawal symptoms from these drugs can be problematic and in some cases life-threatening. There are multiple modalities of treatment that can be sought: detoxification, inpatient or outpatient counseling, cognitive behavior therapy and recovery groups are all important in the intervention/treatment continuum.
http://dpt2.samhsa.gov/treatment or 1-800-662-4357 for the national 24 hr. hotline
Bluegrass MHMR Board’s 24 hr. hotline is 1-800-928-8000
If in Fayette Co. please call 253-2737.
Additionally, please see the list of treatment options by clicking on the substance abuse information button on the home page.
What are the signs of abuse?
Here’s what to watch for:
- Loss of motor coordination
- Poor concentration
- Feelings of confusion
- Impaired judgment
- Lowered inhibitions
- Nausea – vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Hostility or aggression
- Suicidal or homicidal tendencies