Most parents worry about their kids using illegal drugs, but far too few of them are concerned about their kids abusing prescription drugs. Teen drug use is a huge problem. Teen are much more likely to abuse prescription drugs than they are to do the more vilified illegal drugs. Teens have loads of opportunities to find prescription drugs in their homes and the homes of their friends, making it easy for kids to experiment with them. Prescription drug abuse can lead to severe problems that are every bit as scary as the problems illegal drugs present. Keep reading to discover how to identify and prevent prescription drug abuse in your teens.
How to Spot Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
The easiest way to identify that your child has a problem with drugs is to pay close attention to them every day. When you know your teen well, you will be able to identify early warning signs of prescription drug abuse. Teens who start to make many sudden changes should be looked at for drug abuse. These changes include hanging out with a new group of friends, changes in eating habits, changing physical appearance, frequent mood swings and sudden drops in scholastic performance. Teens who start to have behavioral problems out of the blue may also be using prescription drugs.
Talking with Your Teen
If your child starts exhibiting any of these warning signs, you need to start observing your teen more closely. If you remain concerned, you should talk with your kid. Teens are notorious for avoiding any kind of communication with their parents, but you need to do everything you can to always keep the lines of dialogue open with your teen. Daily communication should be part of your relationship whether your child likes it or not. When you are in the habit of daily communication with your teen, you will usually be able to determine by talking with them if they are struggling with prescription drug abuse.
When you discover that your child is abusing prescription drugs, it is easy to feel like you are a failure as a parent. Do not let this feeling trouble you. It is not a failure. Rather, it is a success that you have identified the problem. Now that you know it exists, you can get your teen help for their drug abuse.
Make sure that you do not get angry with your child for abusing drugs. You need to recognize that this is a problem that responds a lot better to care than it does to anger. When your child knows that your concern is coming from a place of caring that is all about treating the problem rather than punishing your teen for it, your teen will be much likelier to be open to getting help. Keep in mind that there is no way that you can help your teen unless your kid is willing to ask for it. Always putting a helping hand out is the best way to give ensure your child gets help for prescription drug abuse.
Preventing Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
While monitoring your child for drug abuse is important, it is even more important to take preventative measures to keep your teen from using prescription drugs in the first place. In many cases, teens first experiment with prescription drugs they find in the medicine cabinets in their homes. You need to make sure this is impossible in your home. Teens should never have access to prescription medications other than their own. Always keep your prescriptions locked up. This is especially important for opiates, stimulants, tranquilizers and other dangerous prescription medications.
While you can prevent your child from finding prescription drugs to abuse in your own home, they will have many chances to use them outside your home. That is why it is important to talk to your child about why they should avoid abusing prescription drugs. When you do this, avoid make the mistake of using scare tactics. Instead, have a calm, reasoned discussion with your teens about how prescription drug abuse can impact the things they care about. Talk about the ways that drug use can affect things like their appearance, driving, sports and health. Make sure that they know that these consequences are real, and that they can be severe. You also need to provide your child with ways they avoid using prescription drugs. Make sure that they know good techniques for resisting peer pressure.
When you are close with your teen, you will be able to spot prescription drug abuse issues early on before they become serious. Make sure your children know they can always come to you with any issue they have. When you have this kind of open relationship with your teens, they will be much likelier to avoid serious problems like prescription drug abuse.