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Teen Campaign Against Deadly Abuse of Prescription Drugs

posted 08:19 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2008
Teen Campaign Against Prescription Drug Abuse © Drugfree.org

While adolescent substance abuse, teen drinking and teen smoking have all been in steady decline, over the past 10 years, prescription drug abuse is still on the rise among teenagers 12 – 17 years of age. 60% of American teenagers will have experimented with painkillers before the age of 15 - often, with tragic consequences.

Prescription drugs can be every bit as addictive, every bit as dangerous, every bit as deadly as illegal street drugs.

Every day, 2,500 teenagers use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. The drugs are readily available to them in medicine cabinets, cupboards and drawers around the house.

The tragic experience of losing his 17-year-old son who overdosed with prescription drugs taken with an over-the-counter medication prompted father Gary Neal to start the Not In My House campaign to raise awareness of the issue.

Many parents are not even aware of the possibility that their kid may abuse medications. After all, the idea of purposely abusing prescription drugs didn't go on when the parents were teenagers – then it was still the illegal drugs like Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin.

The good news is that the medicine cabinet isn’t Afghanistan or Columbia, parents can actually do something to curb the "supply" of prescription drugs. So, part of the Not in My House campaign appeals directly to parents to take action starting with their own medicine cabinets.

Specifically, the campaign recommends that prescription drugs should be stored in a safe place that is not readily accessible to everyone in the house. Parents are also encouraged to take an inventory of prescription medications at home, counting pills left in the bottle or package after every use. Leftover or expired prescription pills should be disposed of properly.

With the second anniversary of his son’s death approaching, Not in My House campaign founder Gary Neal still has a lot of questions and doubts. "Could I have done it better? Could I have done it different? Would the results have been different?"

You never know the answers to those questions because you never get a second chance.

"I've lamented his death every second since he died and will live with it the rest of my life."

The Not In My House campaign is supported by The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Also, check out the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s new Web Community

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has launched a Web-based community to celebrate stories of addiction recovery and bring a human face to the disease of addiction, which currently afflicts 22 million Americans.

The new community, known as Life After is designed to serve as a social network and inspirational showcase where visitors can share stories of hope, celebrate their recovery and find encouragement from friends and family.

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