TIP #4: Establish An Open Environment For Communication.
You also want to make sure that your teen knows that they can come to you with a problem. Let them know to tell you if a friend, despite their resistance, gives them pills. Your teen should also be comfortable telling you if they do experiment with a painkiller and have adverse reactions. While it is upsetting to hear that your teen tried prescription painkillers, it is better to find out early enough to get them the appropriate treatment before their experimentation turns into a full blown addiction.
TIP #5: Help Them Stay Involved In Healthy Activities.
Teenagers who are happily engaged in wholesome activities are less likely to experiment with drugs. Prevent experimentation that comes with boredom by helping your child develop their interests. Whether your child enjoys playing a musical instrument, dancing or kicking a soccer ball, these types of activities promote a sense of self-esteem while giving your teen an outlet for their emotions. Teens who are involved in healthy activities are also more likely to have a network of friends who also prefer to avoid using drugs.
TIP # 6: Watch For Warning Signs Of Substance Abuse
Unfortunately, teens sometimes abuse prescription painkillers despite their parent’s best efforts. Begin by watching for warning signs in their behavior and health such as the following:
- Increased fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- A sudden change in friends
- Mood swings or emotional outbursts
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Physical complaints such as stomach pain with no obvious cause
- Constricted, or “pin point,” pupils
As addiction takes hold, your teen may also experience some of the same negative effects that are caused by other types of drug and alcohol abuse. For instance, they may experience a drop in their grades if they are no longer focused on school. Teens who abuse medication may also begin to get involved in criminal activity such as stealing items to obtain pills. You may also find evidence of prescription drug abuse in your teen’s room such as discarded pill bottles, unlabeled pills or canisters that are designed for hiding drugs.
FINALLY, Know When To Take Action!
You must be willing to seek help for your teen at the first sign of drug abuse. Typically, painkiller addictions get worse over time, and your teen’s developing body is at a high risk for long-term side effects that occur from abusing prescription medications. When you suspect that your teen is abusing prescription drugs, arrange for a professional assessment to find out how your teen could benefit from treatment.
While you may think that your teen would never experiment with drugs, teens are more likely to try prescription drugs before other types such as marijuana or alcohol simply because of their easy accessibility. Proactive parenting is key to protecting your child from the dangers of drug abuse. Through good communication and keeping a watchful eye, you can help your child make it through their teen years with an understanding of the importance of sobriety.