Opioid abuse is the result of thousands of deaths a year, with over 68 thousand people dying of an opioid overdose in 2020 in the United States alone. This sets a need to disperse information about opioid abuse to our younger generation. This way, they can understand what can lead to opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose. One of the things that leads to opioid addiction is prescription drug abuse. So, talking to our children about prescription drugs and the dangers of abusing them can help. But, how can parents begin the conversation about prescription abuse?
Understanding the Dangers of Prescription Medications
Prescription medications are used for a number of reasons and help people every day with a variety of physical and mental health issues. However, prescription medications with opioids as the active ingredient, typically used for pain relief and management, are at a higher risk for abuse. This is because opioids are extremely addictive. So, unfortunately, a number of people who use them, even under the guidance of medical practitioners, develop an addiction to these substances. And, can even, after prescriptions run out, turn to opioids on the street in order to appease the dependence on these substances. Therefore, turning into a cycle of addiction that’s unmanageable – eventually leading to uncontrollable consequences and even potentially overdose. Due to the dangers of prescription drug abuse and addiction, it’s imperative to teach future generations about these dangers so they are less likely to develop these issues themselves.
Begin the Conversation When They Can Understand
When parents introduce the topic of how medication can be dangerous at an early age, this information sinks in quicker. So, as soon as kids can begin to understand the topic of medication, this is a good time to start providing information about the differences in prescription medications and typical over-the-counter medicines. Furthermore, it’s vital to begin talking about how prescription medications should only be used according to a physician’s guidelines. This way, they understand the importance of taking medications correctly and without risk.
Don’t Sugarcoat the Conversations
If you keep the dangers of prescription drug abuse away from your children, this can only hurt. So, don’t sugarcoat the conversation and be honest about how dangerous prescription medications can be if they’re used outside of using them how they’re intended. This can include being honest about family members or friends who have been impacted by prescription drug addiction and even being honest about how abusing opioid medications can become fatal.
Steer Clear of Lecturing and Keep the Conversations Light
When you come to teenagers with forced conversations about what they should or shouldn’t do, they’re more likely to do the opposite (be real – we’ve all been teenagers before). So, when you address the topic of prescription medications and the risk of abuse, try not to make the conversation a lecture. Rather, introduce the conversation during casual conversations.
Listen and Offer Support if They Don’t Take Your Advice
Even parents who have spoken to their children and given them information about drug abuse may end up having to address a situation of addiction in their own kids. When this happens, it’s important that parents understand that the best way to respond is to remain calm and offer support for their child. Try not to overreact so that you can remain a solid foundation of support for your child who’s struggling with substance dependence. This way, your child doesn’t avoid you or feel that they can’t come to you for help.
Getting Help for a Teenager or Young Adult Struggling With Substance Abuse
Parents of individuals who are struggling with substance abuse can find help for their children. Treatment centers like Willow Place for Women offer outpatient support for young adults who are living with substance abuse issues. Reach out to learn more about how we can help.