PARENTS CAN BE “PASSIVE PUSHERS,” STUDY SHOWS
Although most parents surveyed admit being concerned about raising a child in today’s society, the study found, many failed to take the necessary action to prevent them from smoking, drinking and taking drugs.
Most disturbingly, the study said, some parents enable the use, while others encourage it. Failure on the part of the parents was attributed to factors such as:
- Not monitoring whereabouts of their children
- Not safeguarding prescription drugs like painkillers
- Not addressing drug problems at school or with their children’s friends
- Not setting a good example in the home
These “problem parents,” as the study calls them, became “passive pushers” by having unsecured prescription drugs in the home. One-third of teens surveyed said drug abusers they know had access to pills at home. Another third said they could get prescription pills from friends or classmates.
“The ready availability of prescription drugs in the home may also be a contributing factor in the 46% increase over last year in the percentage of teens who say prescription drugs are the substance they can most easily obtain,” the study said.
WHO IS AT RISK AND WHAT CAN BE DONE
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2006, 16.2 million Americans 12 years of age and older had taken a prescription painkiller, tranquilizer or sedative for non-medical purposes at least once in the previous year.
A 2007 study by the institute found Vicodin abuse by 2.7% of eighth-graders, 7.2% of tenth-graders and 9.6% of twelfth-graders. Abuse of Oxycontin was reported by 1.8% of eighth-graders, 3.9% of tenth-graders and 5.2% of twelfth-graders.
Risk factors for families and drug abuse include:
- dynamics in the home.
- level of parental involvement.
- School and neighborhood environment.
- friends of teens who abuse drugs or alcohol.
Drug experts say parents, grandparents, other relatives and caregivers must lock up all prescription drugs, keep an inventory of how many pills are in each container and discard unused pills in a safe way.