Teen Drug Abuse

Teens who abuse prescription and over-the-counter medications are growing in numbers nationwide, and Pleasanton is no exception.

Pleasanton has seen an increasing number of students experimenting with prescription and over-the-counter drugs they find in medicine cabinets at home and even at their grandparents' homes.

While prescription drugs can be helpful for the person for whom the drug is prescribed, they can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs when used improperly. The most common drugs abused by teens are painkillers, depressants (including sleeping pills), anti-anxiety drugs and stimulants used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The prescription painkiller OxyContin (generic form is oxycodone) is particularly popular among teens. Heroin provides a similar "high" to OxyContin and thus, that drug is enjoying a comeback as a cheaper alternative to OxyContin.

Teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easy to obtain, and teens believe the myth that these drugs provide a "safe" high.

Here are some important tips for parents:
  • Don't be naive. Drug abuse happens in the best of families and the best of kids.
  • More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug, except marijuana.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are easy to access in many homes.
  • Teens abuse over-the-counter cough and cold remedies to get high. This is especially troubling given that teens have such easy access to these medications.
  • Our community has seen a dramatic increase in the number of poisonings and even deaths associated with the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • One prescription pill or the wrong mix of medications, even over-the-counter, can be deadly, especially when combined with alcohol.
  • Ensure your home is safe from prescription drug abuse. Lock up your drugs. Discard unused and expired medications.
Click here to check out the NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) for Teens website. You'll find a wealth of information about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Locally, the newly founded Mothers with a Purpose holds informational and support meetings every other Thursday starting on March 24 at 7 p.m. at Foothill High School in room C-6. Mothers with a Purpose is a local group designed to help parents dealing with drug and alcohol issues in the home. The group is founded and run by parents whose teens have tackled or are dealing with drug abuse issues. For more info, contact motherswithapurpose@yahoo.com. (Meeting dates for this school year are April 14, April 28, May 12, May 26 and June 9.)

Get Rid of Prescription Drugs
The Dublin police department is hosting a free prescription drug collection day on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dublin police department parking lot, 100 Civic Plaza, in Dublin. This free event is open to anyone in the area. You do not have to live in Dublin to drop off prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Posted Thursday, March 17, 2011