It’s an epidemic –not the kind that sparks a zombie apocalypse portrayed these days in movies.
Instead, the reality of teens abusing prescription drugs is just as dramatic, if not more so, than Hollywood films.
The Center for Disease Control recently stated that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. In Placer County, 11th grade students abuse prescribed medication at twice the national average, according to the Coalition for Placer Youth.
There are efforts locally to address this serious problem. Parents, teachers and students should join or support those efforts to help reduce that statistic for the community’s and teens’ health.
Recently Granite Bay dad Bradley DeHaven shared his painful story about how he realized his son’s drug abuse problem and confronted it. DeHaven’s son is now two years drug-free.
“I want people to know that are in the throes of addiction that they are not alone. They need to know that they need to seek professional help,” DeHaven told the Journal last week. “It was our dirty little secret. I grew up with a brother that went to prison for cocaine distribution. I thought the last thing in the world that would happen to me was that I would have a son that was an addict.”
DeHaven touched on a problem members of the Coalition for Placer Youth say is common today – parents have a hard time facing the reality of a substance abuse problem in their home.
The solution is a no-brainer but, as coalition members said, harder in practice – parents need to get involved with their children’s lives.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child, well that’s not true,” said Tom Grayson, founder and executive director of Golden Sierra Life Skills. “It takes a home. It’s like sending out children into a lion’s den with pork chops around their neck and expecting them to come back alive.”
Grayson and the coalition are offering their support and tips. Some include family dinners or scheduling weekly family meetings to stay connected to a teenager.
The coalition has also scheduled several drug take-back events so residents can properly dispose of their prescription meds and thus take away any temptation. The most recent take-back event organized by Roseville police yielded 9,000 pounds.
In Auburn, similar events have collected significant numbers of unused medications.
DeHaven also shared some tips for parents. You can find that information and other resources online at auburnjournal.com.
Even though the memories are still painful for DeHaven to talk about today, it hasn’t stopped him from spreading the message. He also has a drug-free son who has a future because he faced the problem.
Parents and teens should draw strength and encouragement from DeHaven’s message. The pain and possible embarrassment of addressing the issue is well worth it to tackle a substance abuse problem that could wreak havoc for a lifetime.
If you, or someone you care about, need help with prescription drug, or other substance abuse, here are some resources.
Coalition for Placer Youth: coalitionforplaceryouth.org
Rx Drug Addict: rxdrugaddict.com
Golden Sierra Life Skills: goldenlifeskills.com
Narcotics Anonymous: na.org
Full Circle Treatment Center (based in Roseville): fullcircle
Alcoholics Anonymous: aa.org
Narconon International: narconon.org