Your Kids Need the Facts on Opioid Use
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among youth in Nebraska, including opioid abuse. Most shocking, almost half of 8th to 12th grade students in our area DO NOT THINK that misusing or abusing prescription drugs puts people at great risk. Many parents are also unaware of just how dangerous opioid use can be. Here’s the reality.
How common is this problem?
One out of every four youth in our area admits they’ve misused prescription medication.
Where do they get these drugs—from dealers?
Two out of every three of them get these pills right from home.
My kid is a “good kid,” so why should I be worried?
While taking pills “for fun” with friends does happen, not all youth use them socially. Some misuse opioids to self-medicate depression, insomnia, anxiety and ongoing pain from sports injuries.
What are the risks if they use opioids?
Misusing prescription opioids puts kids at increased risk for MANY other dangers, including sexual violence, fatal car crashes, addiction, coma and death.
The Reality of Opioid Addiction
• 80% of people who use heroin started with prescription opioid pills. Physical addiction to opioids can happen very quickly.
• Once hooked, opioid use escalates quickly, as the body builds up tolerance and more is needed to avoid withdrawal. This leads to using more and moving on to heroin.
• Withdrawal from opioids creates intense feelings of physical sickness, driving a user to keep using, even if they realize the toll it’s taking on their life.
Tips and Tools
There is good news: you have the power to help prevent this! While kids may not always like to admit it to you, their survey answers tell us that parents and other important adults in their lives have strong influence on the choices they make.
Whether you’re a parent or an adult ally of a young person, these tips can help you use your power to prevent kids from making dangerous choices with opioids.
• ALWAYS dispose of unused or expired prescriptions safely and immediately to reduce access to pills at home.
• Share reliable information and facts with them about the reality of abusing prescription drugs.
• Have honest conversations with them about the real risk involved with opioid use.
• Plan for those conversations, using this guide on hard conversations.
• Whatever age kids you have, start by building an open environment with a parenting style that is proven to help prevent alcohol and drug use.
• Learn more about Narcan, an overdose reversal medication that is saving lives. A new pilot program in our area is making access to Narcan easier for those who need it.
• If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.
Looking for more tools to help?
You’ve found them. These resources can help you guide a young person you care about to live happy and healthy lives.
This project funded by the State Opioid Response grant #1H79TI081706-02 through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Region 5 Systems.