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Feb 17, 2011

Are You Your Kids Drug Dealer? How about Grandma? How About Your Kids Friends Parents?

From Brent

When our 3 year old daughter got Leukemia, over the months we had to keep drawers full of powerful drugs in the house for her treatment. Though we’ve never had any kids with a drug problem, we knew this represented a temptation and potential danger for the younger kids who didn’t know better, and the older kids who might be curious or peer pressured. So we locked it all up.

Since then, I’ve been hearing more and more about the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse… not just by willing adults but by kids who see it all as “fun”. If you are a parent, and you aren’t on alert about prescription drugs, you are making a huge mistake. Statistics shows that high school and college kids are several times more likely to get high on prescription drugs than illegal.

And where are they getting them? Parents bathrooms, the “drug cabinet” at home, and if you haven’t thought about it, better wake up about the Grandparents house. The elderly typically have a small pharmacy of drugs, no kids around, and it doesn’t even cross their mind that grandkids might pilfer their medicine cabinet, a few pills here, and few pills there. Purses, nightstands, bathrooms, kitchens, cabinet drawers… kids aren’t stupid. They see it. They know where it's at and more and more, know what "the good stuff" looks like.

Oxycontin, Fentynal, Vicodin, methodone, Xanax… kids are trading pills at schools like Pokemon cards (yes, I’m showing my age). Drug overdoses and DEATHS are on a shocking increase because kids (and parents) don’t understand how much more powerful prescribed drugs are than most illegal ones. Kids wash it down with alcohol making the danger exponentially worse. It’s just “fun” to them and since it’s not “illegal” drugs, they somehow think that equates to “no danger, no consequence”.

After all, what good parent would leave drugs sitting around that would kill their own kids?

What’s scary is, the amount of prescription drug it takes to get a great high is already dangerously close to the amount that can kill you. Wash it down with a shot of liquor and yesterday’s High School cheerleader is today’s subject of grief counseling.

For you Christians out there, it is interesting to note that the Bible clearly states that drug use* would be a rampant problem in the last days of human history. In the past, we’ve always naturally assumed that meant illegal drugs. Illegal drug use PALES in comparison to the use, and increasingly the abuse of prescription drugs (and adults are leading by example... a pill for every ailment, bad mood, negative emotion or just to escape). Anyone can get them, including kids. Go to the Doctor, complain about a symptom and get a prescription. If a Doctor refuses, just go to another Doctor. It’s easy to get illegal drugs. It’s effortless to get legal ones.

Due to many cultural developments that are too involved to elaborate on here, we’ve become a “pill for every ailment” society whether physical, mental or emotional. The current generation of kids are growing up learning to ask for “medicine” for any discomfort or problem, real or perceived. By the time they are teens, they have no mental reservation at all about popping pills.

I’m 45 and we rarely took pills growing up. REALLY sick? Maybe something for fever and headache. Or the occasional antibiotic from the Doctor. Kids today are fed a diet of pills for everything from the common cold to depression to the inability to pay attention to any slight discomfort.

Given the billions and billions and billions of dollars in profit for the medical community, there is NO incentive for them to do anything accept INCREASE the availability and prescription of more and more drugs. Just like the Bible predicted. We now can see this is primarily referring to drug use that is blessed, applauded, condoned and encouraged by the human race.

Things you should do:

  • Lock up your drugs where you kids have NO access to them; this includes over the counter medicines that don’t require a prescription.

  • Be much more cautious and hesitant to give your kids pills; there is no benefit for them to fix every little discomfort with a pill. Back in the old fashioned, out-of-touch days, parents use to realize that some adversity and discomfort helped kids to be strong and more resilient and less whiney. Less whiney? Wouldn’t that be nice.

  • Reconsider your decision to use drugs for emotional and behavioral issues; we use to RAISE kids and PARENT kids; now we’ve allowed a highly profitable mental health and pharmaceutical industry to convince us that behavioral and emotional difficulties can be remedied or controlled by chemicals (the effectiveness of which is COMPLETELY unproven, and increasingly contradicted by evidence as dangerous and ineffective)

  • Talk to Grandma and Grandpa about locking up their medicines in their home

  • Education your kids about prescription drugs. They are not harmless. They are more powerful than most illegal drugs, and it only takes a pill or two of the wrong kind or mixture and a couple of beers to kill you. Teach them not to listen to their “no big deal” friends. They are toying with death.

  • If your kids get a prescription for an injury or illness DO NOT ALLOW them to hang on to or dispense their own doses. Given them ONLY what they need and lean towards ending the use of them sooner rather than later (doesn’t apply to antibiotics which MUST be taken until finished).

  • Be suspicious of your kids friends who ask to use your bathroom. Keep your drugs OUT of the bathroom and locked up where they will never have access. Not only could you be saving a life, you might be saving yourself the liability of some kid overdosing on YOUR drugs and the inevitable lawsuit that will follow.
What are your suggestions to other readers about how they can combat this rising problem of prescription drug use/abuse? Add your suggestion to the Idea Linky below:

* Gal 5:19-21; Revelation 9:21; and others – the Greek word for witchcraft or sorcery is “pharmakeia” which is where we get our word for pharmacy… in other words, drug use. It makes no distinction about legal or illegal, just drug use. Some people say that the Bible does specifically say “in the last days… “ about drug use but if you read the context of the verses and place them in their proper overview of God’s chronology, it’s plain that this is the warning God intended for us. We ignore that or attempt to explain it away at our own peril . The message is clear and human experience now plainly gives evidence to it’s accuracy.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're bringing awareness to this. It's a real issue, and I think that most parents just don't think about it. But as you pointed out, even if your child wouldn't do it, what about your child's friends?

There is just one thing I'd watch about:

"Reconsider your decision to use drugs for emotional and behavioral issues; . . ."

While this is sometimes--often--the case, I hope you know, and if you do (which I'm sure is the case), I hope you acknowledge that there is a line where "emotional and behavioral issues" stops and "mental illness" begins, and there are children on the later side. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the parents. I am fifteen years old. Thus far, I have been raised wonderfully. Not a perfect family by any means, but better than most. Honor roll, overachiever, gifted. Behavioral issues within the normal range (whatever was usual for the age I was), usually more well-behaved, even. Because my mom raised me well. Because I made them be.

Until I couldn't. I behaved well, I just didn't want to live. I behave well now, I'm just manic, which can be just as dangerous as depression if I were to end up with the delusion that I could fly and decided to jump off a roof. Two very different reasons for jumping off a roof, the very same result. I'm very good at confining it to my head, although that in and of itself is driving me crazy. I have bipolar disorder. When it gets in the way of my life to the point of not wanting to have a life, medication is necessary. And yes, it helps.

That's not to say many issues cannot be solved by other means. But there are children with true mental illnesses that cannot be solved by "raising" and "parenting." Parenting and raising are always necessary (of course!), and I do not believe medication alone will ever do the trick. Sometimes even with medication and other treatment (therapy, etc) there will still be problems. Sometimes there are no medications at all, such as with autism. When this is the case, it isn't the parents' fault, nor should they be ashamed to put their child on medication when they need it, so long as they truly do.

One last note: While I've not personally had experience with this, I know that people with undiagnosed/uncontrolled bipolar often take pills they shouldn't not for fun, to get a high, but to try to tone down their crazy emotions, which of course can have devastating results. In these instances, medication isn't the problem, it's the lack of it. There isn't just one solution. I know that if you want people to read your blog you can't have your posts too long, and I wouldn't expect that, but please keep these things in mind as you write.

A fifteen year old with bipolar disorder

PS: This isn't an attempt at "Cowardly anonymous criticism and insults." Definitely not, I love your blogs. It's simply that, as much as I believe that bipolar shouldn't be something to be ashamed of, I'm just not comfortable with anything other than "anonymous" right now.

Michelle said...

aside from the 3 brain surgeries i've had in the past 24 months, i've suffered from DAILY MIGRAINES since i was 14, and occasional migraines since age 6.

when i say daily, i mean LITERALLY DAILY. when i say migraine, i mean MIGRAINE - i do NOT mean simply "headache."

so of course i've had my fair share of meds over the years.

everything you named, i've had. and then some.

i'm 24, but i VOLUNTARILY allow my Mom to hold onto my meds...

...NOT because i'm worried about abusing them, taking them just for the fun of it. (i'm tolerant enough that 100% honestly, i don't get "high" or anything even close to it taking these meds anyway.)

the reason i have her hold on to them is that when i'm in that much pain, pain so bad i'm BEGGING God to knock me out or take me Home, it is SO EASY to keep taking pills until you feel better.

you can do it NOT intending to abuse them, NOT intending to get high, NOT wanting more for any reason other than REAL, LEGITIMATE pain. but the more you take, the less able you are to think as clearly as you need to. and you can easily ACCIDENTALLY take too much, even if you're genuinely only intending to take it for legitimate reasons.

just thought i'd add that, since it wasn't said in your post. :-)

if you want any more info i'd be happy to share, i've got a testimony from God because of my experience with pain meds AND i've had a HUGE TESTIMONY God gave me because of my FREEDOM from psych meds!!!!!!!!!!! i'd be happy to share with you or anyone wanting to listen... and would be MORE than happy to answer any questions honestly, i don't mind at all!!! :-D

- michelle

Michelle said...

i can't get the Linky thing to work, but i have 2 things i'd suggest adding:

1 - the 2 NEVERs: NEVER INCREASE the dose, NEVER DECREASE the interval between doses. in other words, follow the label/directions without exception!

2 - for pain meds, if you are well enough to be playing, running around, etc., you are well enough NOT to take meds at that time. in other words, when i was younger it was a RULE that if i needed pain meds, i needed to stay in bed/on the couch. a book, small game/toy, or movie was fine... you don't have to be bored... but i had to be RESTING. besides, that helps it work more effectively anyway!

- michelle

Phronsie said...

Good post.

You don't have to approve my comment, I just wanted to tell you that I remember trading POGS as a kid. That was before Pokemon, LOL! I feel old for only being 27. :P

Hannah Marie said...

This is very true and very sad. I have seen my mom who is in constant unbearable pain decide not to take an extra pain pill when I would be like mom just take another one because she is in tears. She tells me she doesn't want to become addicted. It's hard thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

If yourtroubled teenagers are acting rebelliously and dressing strangely this may be a sign that they are under the influence of illegal narcotics, or even trafficking in them with their friends.