How do you stop teens from abusing medicines? Blaise from Five Moms informs us about this epidemic

As a mom, aunt and community advocate, I don’t just make an effort to talk to my own children about taking care of their bodies and making the smart choice to not engage in dangerous behaviors such as abusing alcohol or medicine – including both prescription and over-the-counter cough medicine – I also make it a priority to talk to their friends.

And I would hope that other adults are watching out for my children too! It takes a whole community to raise healthy teens, and no parent can do it alone. 

Building community partnerships and raising awareness the issues such as peer pressure, teen drug and medicine abuse, and risky behaviors is an important step in making our world a safer place. Law enforcement, school officials, and community advocates all have a part to play – as a parent, you can help out by informing them of the concerns you have about teens today. 

Closer to home, if you think that your child or your child’s friends are engaging in dangerous behaviors, say something! It can be as simple as asking how they’re doing or showing an interest in their lives. Here are some of my tips for getting to know my children’s friends:

  • Ask your child who their closest friends are and what they’re interested in. This will help you put faces to names when you see them around.
  • Meet their parents. If your child has very good friends, make an effort to get to know their parents and families.
  • When your child’s friends are over, ask them about their day or how school is going. Show them you care about what’s going on in their lives.
  • Compliment your child’s friends in the very way that you compliment your own children. You never know when our youth need a kind word to build their spirits, and your very words could raise their self-esteem.

When our children are little, we have a hand in “choosing” their friends – we decide who to invite over for play dates or trips to the park. However, as teens grow older, they select their own friends from school, sports, and other communities. As a parent, you want your child to choose friends with the same values you teach them, especially when it comes to healthy living. Talking to your children and making an effort to get to know their friends is a great start!

Blaise is a member of the Five Moms, a group of mothers from all over the country who have come together with one common concern: teenagers abusing over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high. They do this not just for their own teens but for the children of their friends, neighbors and relatives too. They work in communities to spread the word about OTC cough medicine abuse and encourage parents to talk to their teens, monitor their medicines, and to educate other parents and community leaders about this issue. You can learn more about the Five Moms at www.StopMedicineAbuse.org