A recent survey by The Partnership For a Drug Free America, has found that not only are parents talking to their kids less than before (Currently 49% of parents engage their kids in discussions about the dangers of drugs which is down 6% from a year ago) they also seem uneducated as to the true dangers lurking for their children.
Only 36% of parents had spoken to their children about the dangers of pharmaceutical medications, and a mere 33% had talked about the risks of abusing over the counter medications such as DMX containing cough syrup. The study reported that there was a common misconception among parents that prescription or over the counter medications were safer than illicit or street drugs.
Another recently released study indicates that one in five high school seniors in America have abused prescription medications to get high.
The fact is that after alcohol abuse, the most commonly abused drugs in America are prescription opiate type pain pills, and a whopping 6 million or more Americans are currently abusing and dependent on these serious drugs.
While an opiate from a laboratory is at least free from contaminants, any opiate once inside the body is largely indistinguishable from any other opiate, and hence the difference between abusing vicodin from the medicine cabinet and snorting a line of heroin is slim.
Today's prescription medications are incredibly addictive, available and destructive; and savvy kids know just how easy it is to source their next high. When parents are so woefully uniformed as to the true dangers of abuse, it's hard to be optimistic about a reduction in the numbers suffering addictions to pharmaceutical opiates any time soon.
That more than half of all parents never speak with their children about the dangers of drugs is in my opinion shocking and irresponsible, but I'm not sure who is really to blame for the misperception of the real risk surrounding easily available pharmaceutical medications. When we are bombarded with advertisements that seem to indicate the safety and efficacy of drugs of all shapes and sizes, maybe it's not surprising that parents, and their kids, think that these drugs are a lot safer than they really are.
Maybe pharmaceutical companies marketing these drugs owe some responsibility for the fates of the many millions of Americans suffering with addictions to these same drugs, and maybe a small portion of the profits made off of the suffering of millions needs should be mandated back to advertising revealing the true dangers of the misuse of these pills.
Drug makers and doctors claim that these medications are safe when taken as directed, and that only through the misuse of these pills is addiction probable. Essentially, "we are not responsible for people trying to get high off of our legitimate drugs". They have a point in some ways, and we do need to maintain some standards of personal accountability; but when companies promote their products in such a way as to cause the massive mis perception of their dangers, can they not be on some level faulted when patients fail to follow the small print directions?
Parents…talk to your kids about the dangers of both over the counter and prescription medications; they are arguably the greatest danger to abuse in our high schools today.
Government…take action to better the current desperate situation of dependency, and hold the companies raking in record profits off of these drugs (6 million addicts makes for a good return!) somewhat accountable, and require a better presentation of the real risks involved with pharmaceuticals as addictive as heroin.
Page last updated Aug 05, 2010