My son’s middle school sent this info to parents, and I thought it was worth sharing.
The drug situation in our schools is different than it was when we were teenagers. Prescriptions drugs play a larger role in kid’s lives today, and we need to be vigilant about keeping an eye on our kids (do you stay up and greet your child when he comes home from a night out?) and on our medicine cabinets.
With thanks to our school, which I won’t name, here’s the info parents of teens need to know:
Prescription drugs are very popular among teenagers today. The number of young people who abuse them is increasing at a staggering rate. They are what alcohol and marijuana was for our generation.
Most popular prescription drugs are: Vicodin/Tylenol #3, Oxycontin, Valium, Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, Ritalin/Adderall. Most kids get these prescription drugs our own medicine cabinets.
When these prescription drugs are used in combination with alcohol they can be deadly even in small doses.
Vicodin and Tylenol #3 are “combination products” They have a small dose of a narcotic and some Tylenol. Thought of as safer than pure narcotics like morphine or Oxycontin. However, if taken for a high, they can be quite dangerous. Tylenol at large doses and in combination with alcohol is very toxic to the liver.
Oxycontin is in the same class of medicines as morphine, Dilaudid, codeine. It also has the same effect on the body as heroin. At therapeutic doses it is very similar to morphine, and is a very effective pain medication. When it is abused it can easily kill, especially if crushed.
Valium, Xanax and Ativan are tranquilizers. Ambien is usually given for sleep. Although when taken alone they are safer than the narcotics, in combination with other drugs they can also be deadly.
Ritalin and Adderall are stimulants and at high doses mimic the effects of cocaine.
A particularly dangerous aspect of some prescription drugs today is that some of them come in sustained or controlled release formulations. They usually take several hours to kick in. If a child is not aware of this, he/she may take several pills expecting a high quickly, and may overdose. Another reason it’s dangerous is that if you crush these slow release pills, the full dose becomes available immediately instead of being released slowly over a 12-hour period, and that could be deadly as well.
Over-the-counter products, including herbs, are also quite popular and can often be just as deadly.
Some helpful tips:
Keep all medications locked safely away.
Count the pills. Know how much you have in each bottle.
Buying large quantities of OTC medications at Costco is not a great idea.
Watch out for behavior, appetite, and sleep-pattern changes.
Talk to your kids about the adverse effects of all of these medications.
Don’t let them carry around lots of money.
Be awake when your child comes home from an evening out.