Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in American society. As more people develop dependencies on prescription drugs, awareness about the dangers have been increased. Previously, when people thought about drug abuse, illegal drugs like cocaine and meth mostly came to mind. But now that statistics keep coming out showing the rise in prescription drug abuse, activists are working harder to make the general public aware of how dangerous abusing prescription drugs can be. One of the dangers is that people often take prescription drugs in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs and create hazardous unregulated cocktails that can lead to very harmful consequences. Older generations may have fallen into prescription drug abuse because they were not aware of the dangers, but now the younger generation has the valuable opportunity to be educated about why prescription drug abuse has become such a major problem.
Educating Kids In an effort to combat the rising problem with prescription drug abuse, East Tennessee State University College of Pharmacy students are traveling to different intermediate school to inspire kids to be “agents of change” to spread awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs. Kids are particularly important to target, because they are the future, and previously may have been unaware of the problem. By arming them with the knowledge of the prescription drug problem, they will be able to make wiser decisions as they grow into adulthood, and eventually pass down the knowledge to their children.
This is also notable, because the College of Pharmacy students are making an effort to present a program that is entertaining and engaging to children. They are showing real life situations where prescription drug abuse may occur by acting out skits, giving testimonials, and providing resources that can help anyone addicted to prescription drugs. Drug abuse education has proven to be extremely helpful for kids when provided in a fun and easygoing atmosphere, where the kids feel engaged and are encouraged to use their own intelligence to make the right decisions.
Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Abuse
Another important thing that the students learn about prescription drug abuse, is how to recognize the symptoms and signs. This is education and knowledge that they wouldn’t get anywhere else. A person who has developed a dependency on prescription drugs may exhibit these symptoms:
- Personality changes
- Long-term usage
If kids see these symptoms in someone who is using prescription drugs, they can become more aware of signs of addiction.
Preventing Addictions Before They Occur
Ultimately, the goal of the presentation is to educate fifth and sixth graders about the epidemic of prescription drug abuse before they are presented with any serious decisions to make. But once they reach that age where they may be prescribed painkillers, then they will be educated to make the right decision beforehand. Prescription drug abuse mainly occurs when someone becomes addicted to drugs that have been prescribed to them to deal with pain. When children are educated about the dangers, they will be able to take the proper precautions to avoid becoming addicted themselves.
Engaging The Community
What these “agents of change” prove is that the best and most effective way to curb the abuse of drugs, prescription or otherwise, is to directly engage and interact with the community. In this day and age where everything is done via internet or smartphone, human contact is an increasingly valuable commodity. Children, especially, are in need of role-models that they can talk to and learn from. When children realize that other people care about them, and consider them valuable, they will respond in kind by taking to heart what is taught to them.
If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription drug addiction, please contact us.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.