“Teen Influencers” Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse
By Kristin Blank
Can you help stop teens from misusing prescription medications? Every day, teens come into contact with dozens of adults—from parents, grandparents, and other relatives to teachers, coaches, and doctors—who can have a positive influence on their lives.
Many people may want to help but aren’t sure where to start. SAMHSA, in conjunction with the National Council on Patient Information and Education, recently launched a new campaign entitled Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer: What You Can Do to Help Prevent Teen Prescription Drug Abuse.
The campaign includes an online toolkit for presenting a training workshop. Materials include a presenter’s guide, real-life scenarios, warning signs and symptoms, common myths about teen prescription drug abuse, brochures, and handouts tailored to specific audiences (e.g., parents, educators, doctors).
“These tools are essential for engaging youth and the adults who come in contact with them through a solid message that prescription drug misuse is dangerous and can be fatal,” said H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
Although the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs among youth has declined from 2002 through 2008, many teens have turned to misusing prescription drugs, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In fact, approximately 2.8 million teens have abused prescription drugs.
One of the campaign’s real-life scenarios involves a teen asking what is so bad about prescription drug abuse, noting that the medications are legal and available from any pharmacy. The materials give advice on how to answer questions like these, while conveying that prescription medications can be dangerous and even deadly when not taken under a doctor’s supervision.
The materials also help adults to understand why teens might start abusing prescription medications. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, dealing with pressures and school-related stress is cited as the number-one reason teens misuse prescription drugs.
The campaign’s comprehensive online resources include a complete workshop module, which can be completed in 1 hour or less. No special training is required to give the presentation.
Download Maximizing Your Role as a Teen Influencer materials.