July 10, 2009 —
The summer heat means spending lots of time outdoors at community parks, pools, and events. No matter where you live, everyone savors the summer months when the crazy pace of life generally slows down and families get to spend more time together. Busy families also find they are likely to spend more time in their community, attending sporting events, picnics, or concerts. It's a reassuring and comforting feeling to be a part of a community of people that you identify with and feel a connection to in a meaningful way. This connection can play an important role in the fight against over-the-counter cough medicine abuse.
Take a look at how one community assessed the risk factors that contribute to drug abuse in teenagers. It is easy to see how communities have a great deal of impact on the risky behaviors of their teens. In this article, we have taken a deeper look at ways our own communities can solve the problems and risks associated with drug abuse in teenagers.
Safeguard your home
Because OTC cough medicines are useful to consumers, they can be found in the medicine cabinets of almost every home. As mentioned before in Blaise's article, however, we must take responsibility for what is in our own medicine cabinet and keep track of every medication. Share this information with friends and community members. By keeping the parents in our communities informed about the simple steps they can take, such as keeping a careful inventory of household medicines, we can all feel more comfortable and confident as our teens spend more time out of the house during the summer months.
Talk about the risks
In comparison to illicit drug use, some communities are not aware of the serious dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse. If you need tips on how to bring up the topic, take a look at Becky's latest article on taking action within your community. By using the free resources on the Stop Medicine Abuse web site, you can make sure other parents understand the real dangers of medicine abuse and are encouraged to discuss those risks with their own teens.
Encourage community involvement
Summer vacation is a great time to get your teen more involved in their neighborhood. Organize a block party or encourage your teen to make a little extra money by babysitting, mowing lawns, or walking dogs. Not only will these activities get your teen outside they also will give him or her a sense of responsibility and a connection to others in the community.
Being responsible, getting involved, and speaking out against OTC cough medicine abuse are great steps every parent can take this summer. What other ways do you think communities can prevent this form of abuse in teenagers? Share your ideas or comments on the Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook fan page!