National Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week Prescription Drug Abuse

National Drugs & Alcohol Facts Week: Prescription Drug Abuse

On day three of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, let’s talk about prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug abuse, particularly opioid abuse, has had a devastating impact on this country for the last few years. While the US has made strides in addressing the issue, we still have a long way to go.

According to the CDC, “The number of drug overdose deaths decreased by 4% from 2017 to 2018, but the number of drug overdose deaths was still four times higher in 2018 than in 1999. Nearly 70% of the 67,367 deaths in 2018 involved an opioid.”

Thankfully, we know that youth who report regularly using a prescription not prescribed to them in East Texas has dropped 38% in the last few years to less than 8%, with other major decreases across the state as well.

Still, we want to get that number to zero.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than half of people who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from friends and family for free.

There are two major ways parents can help reduce youth prescription drug abuse even further: Dispose of your leftover medication and talk to your children about the issue.

While the semi-annual DEA Take Back event has been postponed due to COVID-19, there are lots of other locations in East Texas and around the country where you can safely dispose of your unused and unneeded medications in a secure prescription drug drop box (once sheltering at home is no longer needed). You can also use a prescription drug disposal pouch.

And while some parents might think that teen drug abuse is inevitable, studies show that talking to your children about the dangers, letting them know you disapprove, and laying out consequences in a loving way are the best deterrents for youth using.

Teens who are out of school from the COVID-19 outbreak may be more stressed or bored than usual, which can be a risk factor for substance abuse. Talk to your teen today about why it’s important to only take medication prescribed to them, and give them other healthy ways to deal with stress.