That was the title of an article I read the other day. We were leaving one of my favorite restaurants – a favorite because they serve a delicious bison burger, a great salad and fresh veggies for the kids, all in a very cool atmosphere – and I picked up a health magazine on my way out the door. Just wanted something to peruse on our drive home.
It was filled with the usual and expected substance-free articles… too challenging for a writer to say much of anything with a 300 word limit!
Anyhow, one article caught my eye and kept my attention. Actually, I was suspended in disbelief! Maybe it was shock, who knows! The article s23 was featured in the Parenting section of the magazine and was titled, “How to keep prescription drugs away from your kids. “
Of course, my knee-jerk reaction was, “Don’t take prescription drugs and don’t give any to your kids… simple. ” I decided to delay my tendency to over-simplify issues pertaining to rampant drug use in our society, and read the article in its entirety.
That’s when the disbelief and shock came in!
Now, once again, I assure you that i do not live in a very dark closet. I understand that people take prescription drugs for all sorts of reasons. We make the best decisions we can based our belief systems and the information we have available to us at the time. I get it.
I also understand that kids getting into their parents’ prescription drugs for recreational purposes has become an enormous problem. That was the basis of this article.
What caused the shock and disbelief was the level of desensitization that has taken place in our society as a whole regarding the rampant over-use of, and dependence upon, prescription drugs. Drugs are a “normal” part of our existence in North america. Strange times.
This article began with the assumption that the average American home contains multiple prescription drugs. I’m sad already. Then, the statement that, although prescription drugs such as sedatives, pain killers, stimulants and allergy medications do have some benefits (I’ll let that one slide), when they are taken by “anyone other than for whom the drugs were prescribed” they can be DEADLY!
Immediately, I’m thinking, “How does the drug know Who was supposed to take it? ” and, “Why is deadly for the non-prescription recipient, but not the prescription recipient? What makes it OK for that person to take it?? “
Don’t even Try to convince me that drug trials prove a drug’s safety for its specified purposes. Drug testing and safety has become such a joke. Follow the money trail. Drugs are pushed onto the market WAY before they’re thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy. PLUS, it is extremely common to prescribe drugs for conditions or age groups the drug was not even tested for! (case in point – Ritalin)
For a moment, let’s just pretend that drug testing is perfect. Don’t you still wonder… how can this drug be “OK” for me, but deadly for my spouse??? Our genetic make up is not that different!
Anyhow, the article gave some expected tips, like throwing out expired drugs, locking up your drugs, keeping the lines of communication open with your kids, know who they’re hanging out with and so on.
The one recommendation that made me all the more certain that I’m living in some sort of Twilight Zone was the one that urged parents to discuss the “MYTHS” of prescription drug safety. It said to be certain that you “replace the misinformation” your children have about the safety of prescription drugs. It told parents to “debunk the myth” that prescription drugs are any safer than illegal street drugs!
WHOA! Hold on a minute… I have NOT heard that juicy little tid bit on any drug commercial on television lately! No ma’am… I’ve only seen those happy, fit, socially balanced people skipping around in a state of joyful euphoria on the drug commercials! No one’s saying, “Hey, you might want to’ try some CRACK before you consider taking this stuff your doctor gives you… the crack is safer! “
Seriously, that part of the article stunned me.
I know it’s true. But the “raw” nature of that truth was lost… not enough emphasis was placed on the very obvious nature of that statement.
Yes, kids have to know that prescription drugs are not safe, just because a doctor prescribed them. But the bigger point, in my opinion, is that we just skim over the fact (and blindly accept it) that prescription drugs ARE dangerous… for all of us, not just kids.
It irks me to no end that we have become so desensitized to this. We assume that everybody takes drugs… or probably should for some reason! After all, we all have discomfort from time to time, or stress, or anxiety, or immune system issues, or a runny nose… goodness gracious, where are the drugs when we need them?!
Health and happiness don’t come from a bottle.
I know there’s a time and place for prescription drugs. They can save lives. That’s not what I’m talking about here at all. How many people do you think are taking a drug, on an ongoing basis, to literally save their life? Life saving intervention is a short term thing. Drug use has become a chronic, lifestyle thing. Also, I can’t think of a drug that creates better health, restores homeostasis or improves overall function. I guess we just need to make sure we’re clear on what our goals are. If my life is in danger and a drug could help keep me alive long enough to do something proactive about the situation, then by all means, hook me up, doc!
The final point, offered by the therapist at a local substance abuse center, was for parents to “lead by example” and to remember that “actions speak louder than words”. Unfortunately, the article ended there… kinda’ left me hanging!
Was he trying to tell parents to get off their drugs so that their kids didn’t model after them? Or was he just telling parents to not use their drugs to get high? I’m not sure.
One thing I’m fairly certain of is that, in our drug-happy, desensitized culture, his point is totally lost. Nobody ‘heard’ him say that. We’ve not come to the tipping point yet. Grown-ups aren’t ready to toss their drugs and replace them with proactive lifestyle changes. Not yet. Especially when a substance abuse therapist won’t even come right out and say that that’s Exactly what many parents need to do!