We do not know the cause of Whitney Houston's death this weekend. I can't make presumptions so in no way am I claiming to know how or why she died.
In the United States, it is estimated that about 2,500 teens daily abuse prescription "legal" drugs for the first time. Most of them get those drugs from the family medicine cabinet.
According to the 2008 Monitoring the Future survey, 15.4% of high school seniors have used prescriptions and over the counter medications found in their homes for non-medical purposes in the past month.
According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America one in five teens has abused a prescription pain medication. One in five teens report they have abused prescription stimulants and tranquilizers. One in ten teens has abused cough medicine.
Deepak Chopra, a new age guru who is a trained cardiologist explains, "The number-one cause of drug addiction in the world, and particularly in the United States, is not street drugs but medical prescriptions given legally by physicians."
After surgery or dental work many patients are prescribed narcotic pain killers. In fact, thousands of Americans in chronic pain safely take prescribed narcotic pain killers daily. The prescribing of narcotics is common and useful when used properly by the patient.
But, if after a surgery or dental work a patient is prescribed narcotics and only take a few pills, they ought to discard the rest. No point in keeping dangerous narcotics in a home with children. Before discarding the narcotics remove the labels on the prescription to discourage teens finding the drugs in the garbage and to protect the patient from identity theft. Those addicted to drugs may search trash cans to find names of others to fill narcotic prescriptions.
If someone in the household is taking pain killers, tranquilizers, stimulants, or cough medicine adults must secure medications. The bathroom medicine cabinet is the first place kids will look for drugs. Teens wanting to get "high" will visit the homes of friends, ask to use the bathroom, and go straight for the medicine cabinet. Remove prescription medications from the family medicine cabinet and hide or secure them in a safe place. Even some over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup containing dextromethorphan, should also be secured in a safe location.
The Monitoring the Future survey found that most teens do not consider prescription or over-the-counter drugs as dangerous as illicit drugs, because they are legal and are prescribed by a doctor. Therefore, the best way to prevent teen abuse of drugs is to sit down and talk with them.
According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America parents must explain to their children that pharmaceuticals taken without a prescription or a doctor's supervision can be just as dangerous as taking illicit drugs or alcohol. Children are known take medication to get "high" at as young as 12-years-old. So, the discussion about the dangers of prescription medications should start when children are young.
Click here to see how to properly administer medicines to children. To review au pair and nanny proper medical practices click here. Visit the AntiDrug web site for more tips to prevent prescription drug abuse.
3. The Monitoring the Future Survey included 46,348 students from 386 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For additional information regarding the Monitoring the Future study, please e-mail MTFinfo@isr.umich.edu.
Does the family you work for keep medications in the medicine cabinet? Would you feel comfortable asking them to move medications after reading this article?