If you’re anything like me when it comes to parenting, you’re still shocked by what you hear in the news.
Boy, 14, Arrested for Cyber-Bullying 12-Year-Olds
Not my kid.
Abstinence-Only Teaching Doesn’t Curb Teen Sex
Not my kid.
‘High school dropout crisis’ continues in U.S., study says
Not my kid.
Teenage Pregnancy Rates Rise in the US
Not my kid.
School drug ring led by middle schooler, police say
Let’s come back to that one, shall we?
These are all real news headlines. I didn’t dig for them. I took about 60 seconds and googled a few keywords. And these were just the articles that appeared on the first page.
These are just some of the issues plaguing parents as we struggle to raise children in a safe and loving environment. And we’re doing our best to make sure it’s not our kid.
We monitor their phones and laptops (and if you don’t, you should). We talk to them about staying in school and waiting until their older to make mature decisions. And we teach them that drugs are bad.
I’ve actually been having that conversation with my 6 year old since he was old enough to comprehend what I was saying. I may not get into specifics about illicit substances but I’m doing my best to prepare him for a world of peer pressure and availability and even escapism. I teach him about things that are illegal. I talk about why it’s bad for his brain. And then I talk about how his life might turn out if he chose to use drugs.
I’m doing everything I should and I probably don’t need to worry about it for a few more years. Except I do.
That last headline up there actually read “Elementary school drug ring led by middle schooler, police say.” Yes, elementary school. And it’s not just a fluke. Earlier this year, there was a young elementary student in my community who propositioned a preschooler. And I live in a nice neighborhood.
As parents, we have to stay diligent in what our kids are doing and who they’re hanging out with. I always tell my son that it’s my job. And he needs to know I plan to be all up in his business for many years to come. The best way to do this is to keep talking to him.
The reality is this: having a conversation with your child is critically important. When it comes to drug use, the data shows that what parents say does matter. In fact, teens who learn about the risk of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs.
October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Stop Medicine Abuse‘s goal is to alert parents and community members of the dangers of teens abusing OTC cough medicines.
When you think of OTC medicines being abused, you might think of the stuff they now keep behind the counter, where you have to show a driver’s license and they limit how much they can buy. That’s NOT what’s I’m talking about here. I’m talking about DXM, a cough suppressant know as Dextromethorphan.
When used as directed, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient in many OTC cough medicines. But when used in excessive amounts, which is what 1 in 20 teens admits to, the result is a “high.” When abused in this way, DXM can cause side effects including vomiting, stomach pain, mild distortions of color and sound, hallucinations, and loss of motor control.
I went to a safety conference earlier this year and sat in on a law enforcement session talking about the latest designer drugs. Confession: I didn’t even know there was such a thing as designer drugs. And I was shocked. Not only are drugs more and more accessible but often they’re purchased legally, as is the case with DXM.
(Side note: Just read today of the first case of Krokodil abuse hitting the United States. Trust me. Do NOT google that one. I’m still shocked at what people do to their bodies for the sake of a high.)
Now I know what you’re thinking.
Not my kid.
I know. Not my kid either. But I want to keep it that way and I want to help you do the same.
Here are just a few things you can do in your house to stay on top of potential drug abuse.
1. Talk with your teen about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse and monitor your medicine cabinets.
2. Listen to the language your kids use. DXM is often referred to as skittling, tussin, robotripping, CCC, triple Cs, and dexing.
3. Take a look at the warning signs identified by Stop Medicine Abuse
- Empty cough medicine bottles/boxes in the trash of your child’s room, backpack, or school locker
- Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
- Changes in friends, physical appearance, sleeping, or eating patterns
- Declining grades
The first step in preventing this abuse is to EDUCATE yourself and your family. For more information and useful resources for parents, log onto www.stopmedicineabuse.org.
This is a sponsored post and I have received compensation for my participation in the Stop Medicine Abuse awareness month program. The opinions in this post are my own.