“Once upon a time,” every good story begins that way, right? Well in this case it is not a good story. It is the story of prescription drug misuse that leads to abuse. Once upon a time, the quantity of prescriptions written per person was much less and our society considered taking a prescription a very serious matter. For some this attitude still exists, but for many we take that notion for granted and have developed an overreliance on prescription drugs. They are not simply an amber bottle with an insurance benefit. The very purpose of prescription drugs is being challenged by adults and teens, and the result is a prescription drug abuse epidemic.
Let us start with the path of how we obtain prescription drugs. These drugs are issued by a doctor in charge of a person’s care. They come with a safety cap to avoid poisoning. They are not over-the-counter options. They are given the term “Rx” to be associated with medical care. The Latin origin of “Rx” is said, in part, to mean recipe. This “recipe” comes from a well-trained doctor, a partnership with a pharmacist, and no lack of schooling between them.
When “Mommy has a bad headache,” it is easy to reach for something stronger, perhaps from a previous injury. Isn’t this a message to our children that those Rx bottles are a magic cure-all? In truth, the pill may have helped momentarily, but as our children grow and see our attitude, it shapes theirs. This is not a long-term risk worth taking.
If you have young children, it is critical to speak to them about why a prescription is a serious matter. Prescriptions are not bad, but false perceptions of prescription drugs can lead to bad outcomes.
There is a misperception that prescription drugs are not as risky. Kids are overwhelmed with messaging that life should be entertaining at every moment and look to parents to teach them otherwise. Helping your child learn to cope without abusing prescription drugs starts with the behavior you model and the conversations you take the time to have before it becomes their own “bitter pill” of bad habits. Learn more about keeping your family members safe at www.BitterPill.IN.gov.