Organization Fights Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of teens using drugs from 12 to 17 years old has declined since 2002.

The number of teenagers abusing pain relievers is the lowest in a decade.

The SAW Coalition, an organization which fights drug abuse in our area, is trying to teach parents what they can do to help.

Coordinator Keri Jones said when they discuss substance abuse, they also include information about prescription drug abuse.

"It's something that's always on our radar," said Jones.

Jones said many teenagers can find prescription drugs easily.

"Seventy percent of people are getting their prescription drugs from friends or relatives. That's a really high number," Jones said.

She said parents should keep their medicine away from the reach of children.

She aims to promote this message with their campaign "Lock'em up, Lock'em out."

"As parents, we're all mindful of locking things up when we have young children in the home, we often forget to lock up medications, alcohol, things of that nature, when we have teenagers in the home." Jones said.

According to Jones, parents have to be mindful, their teenagers' friends are also coming to their home.

In Harrisonburg, Rush Drug Task Force Coordinator Mark Campbell said the biggest problem is the drugs are abused.

"When you crush them or inject them, you take the time release out of them and you take the total dose of the medication at one time. That's when they get in trouble, when they crush it and snore it or they crush it and inject it." he said.

Jones says some signs of abuse are kids being lethargic with dilated pupils and slurred speech.

She said some of these effects come from drugs that teenagers can buy themselves.

Over the counter medication can be just as deadly as prescription drugs, or street drugs." Jones said.

Campbell said the signs of someone abusing prescription drugs can be similar to people who abuse illegal substances.

He said parents would notice a change in their kid's lifestyle or group of friends.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the United States to give people a safe way to dispose their unwanted prescription drugs.

It has scheduled another national prescription drug take-back day

The event is scheduled for September 29, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To find out where you can drop drugs off, go to the Department of Justice's website or call 1-800-882-9539.

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