The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University released a surgery a few years back about the likelihood of your teens getting access to prescription drugs and where they usually find them. The first and biggest find was that for the first time ever, teens said it was easier to get prescription drugs than it was to get alcohol.
Sadly, most teens said they got these drugs from home, and others got them from friends who also got their drugs from home. The fact is many parents are somewhat careless as to the storage and tracking of the drugs they have in the home. Parents need to be more cautious and need to keep prescription drugs in a safe location, as well as an inventory to make sure they know where the pills are going.
This survey was done a few years back, and since then the purchases of prescription drugs online has increased. One teenager shared his experience with online drugs. “I was always searching [the Internet] for new ways to get high,” said Sean, a 17 year old being treated at Pathway Family Center in Indianapolis. “My friends and I ordered ‘legal marijuana,’ which was terrible. I found out how to grow marijuana, how to make it more potent, how to crush pills. I linked my IM [instant messenger] to my favorite drug sites so that my friends could find them, too. When my parents wanted to drug test me, I found out online how to detox so I could get around the tests and show up clean.” Parents need to realize that there are many websites out there that teach your children bad things. The Internet is a great resource when used correctly and therefore banning it completely is a mistake, but parents would also be making a mistake thinking teens won’t find websites that encourage and promote drug use.
Youtube contains many instructional how-to videos, and some teach your children how to get high off common household products. John P. Walters, Director of the National Drug Control Policy said, “The Internet can teach teens how to buy or make drugs, how to use different drugs and other products to get high, and how to beat drug tests.” It can be pretty easy for any teenager looking to get high or experiment with his friends.
Again, there is no need to block Youtube and Google, but keeping track of the browsing history will let you see what your child is up to. Many kids know how to delete the browsing history so if you notice your kid has been on the computer all day but there is no history, obviously they are up to something. Kids also can use their cellphones to surf the internet and find drugs, so make sure you know their browsing history and contacts on their phone as well.
Another study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found 365 websites selling prescription drugs online. Of those 365 websites, 85% of them did not require a prescription. Sometimes teens don’t even need to put in fake information. One 13 year old girl was able to go on a website and buy Ritalin using her real information. There is a lot out there when it comes to learning about or purchasing drugs. Parents can only do so much, but it really comes down to the decisions your children make. Parents can however make the situation much more tempting when they leave prescription drugs in easily accessible places, and also when they give their children unlimited access to a computer in a hidden area. Make sure to keep the computer in a popular area like the kitchen or the family room. This way your kids won’t be tempted to visit any drug related sites if they know their Dad could come around the corner any second. Also, many computers especially Macs let parents control the time usage of their kids.
When given only an hour each day, kids will spend more time on important things when they know their time is limited. When they have a computer in their room to surf whenever they like kids are much more likely to search for things like drugs, pornography and other topics. Make sure you stay on top of where your kids go on the internet and what they are doing. Keep in mind that whether we want to admit it or not, they are much smarter than us when it comes to technology so we have to be careful about what they tell us and the reality of the situation.
About the Author: Parker Boyack is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.
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