Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse
Of course, preventing the abuse of prescription drugs really means preventing the abuse of any drug. Drug abuse often starts early, so explaining the dangers, in the very simplest terms, must start even earlier, before the teenaged years. If your child is already in his teens, start anyway! It is never too late to improve the situation through education.
The likelihood that your child will at some point be surrounded by people drinking or using drugs and will be offered drugs is overwhelming. He must know to expect this, he must expect his peers to ridicule him if he refuses the offer to join in and he must know in his heart that he must walk out of this environment if he is to stay sober. He must truly understand the damage that can occur if drugs are abused, all the way up to and including overdose and addiction. Obviously, this information must be shared on a gentle gradient in the early years.
One of the most essential messages to send is that both the child’s parents are united in their opposition to any kind of substance abuse until after the child is 21 years of age. This is an important message whether the family all lives in the same household or not. According to the National Center on Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse, if a person can avoid drinking or using drugs until after they turn 21, they are virtually certain to never have a problem with substance abuse.
Parents must set a good example of sobriety as well. If a parent says that drug abuse is not acceptable but then drinks frequently or uses prescription drugs that could be avoided, this mixed message will undermine the parent’s desire to keep the child sober.
Of course, if the parent is using illicit drugs or abusing prescription drugs or alcohol, the best thing he could do to keep the child sober is get himself cleaned up, followed by this drug education.