So, this sunday morning on my way home I was listening to a radio show on teen drug use. They had experts, head doctors, DEA guys, recovered addicts, parents and more talking about how to recognize, treat and help those who are abusing drugs. Many of the experts were talking about the use of medical drugs with addicts, adderol, ritalin, oxy, and so on and so on. The opiod drug abuse was directly linked to the rising heroine drug use.
As I listened to the experts explain things, I got to thinking. Scary thought when I really get to thinking.
They talked in depth about how addiction is the problem, the ease of getting drugs, social stigma of using medical drugs vs. street drugs and the mixing of drugs and affects. I found the statement that kids think using medical drugs like oxy, addreol and ritalin was superior to someone who shoots heroine he buys off the street. WOW, drugs are drugs, and addicts are addicts. There is no difference to me, but I can see how socially there could be a big difference.
So, here is why I am writing this post, they talked about having a dialog with your kids about not using drugs, contracts with your kids, being good role models for your kids and more. This dialog is an ongoing thing not a one time talk, setting a good example in front of them is also a great idea. I will admit I am guilty of having a drink in front of my kids at the end of the day, which is probably not a good idea. As a chiropractor, medical drugs are a rarity in our house, we don't have kids tylenol, advil or any other kids of medications, my kids have not needed any over the counter drugs because they didn't feel well. But, in the real world, I truly believe PART of the drug abuse problem comes from behavior learned in the home from birth. Its not uncommon in most households that if your child has a fever you give him medicine to FEEL better. Stuffy nose = medicine to feel better, headache = medicine to feel better, pain = medicine to feel better. Are you seeing what I am here?
In general kids are taught a behavior that if they don't feel right, take medicine and feel better. Thats the behavior that is ingrained in them from a very young age. So how hard do you think it would be for a kid who is stressed out to take "medicine" from a buddy who says it will make him "FEEL" better?
This isn't the cure to the drug epidemic, but I think it is an important aspect that needs to be looked at. If kids grow up with the mentality that if they aren't feeling well, medicine (drugs) makes them feel better, as a young adult, "TRYING" drugs that promise to make them feel better doesn't seem like a bad thing. And the fact that many drugs abused now are "PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE" is an even easier step to take for many.
I write this post to get parents thinking about behaviors that kids may be developing by what is commonly done in many households. It wasn't something I had thought much about until this morning, but there is an epidemic of drug use (medical) going on and with the ease of access of some of the medical drugs out there its worth looking at.
Thanks for reading, feel free to share and help spread the word.