A Blog for Teens About Drugs
Recently I found The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s blog for teenagers—The Sara Bellum Blog at http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/. Did you catch the joke in the title on reading that, the takeoff on cerebellum? I didn’t the first time I saw it. But what better way to try and capture teens’ attention about an important subject than to try and appeal to their intelligence with a play on words?
But teens aren’t reading this Malibu Beach Recovery Center blog, you say. Why post about a blog for teens? For several reasons. Here are five:
1. Because you may be the parent or stepparent, grandparent, or aunt or uncle of a teen and it’s wise to see what they’re reading and learning about drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found in a 2004 survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders that 9.3 percent of 12th-graders reported using Vicodin without a prescription in the previous year, and 5.0 percent reported using OxyContin –“making these medications among the most commonly abused prescription drugs by adolescents.”
And by the way, teens don’t always go searching through medicine cabinets to find prescription drugs, as you’ll often hear. When my son was 16, he had his appendix removed. As we were leaving the hospital, the nurse gave us a vial of Vicodin and instructions for taking them. “These are highly addictive,” she said. “Throw them away if there are any left over.”
That was my introduction to my son taking a prescription drug. I walked on eggshells for a couple of days trying not to be too obvious about monitoring his pain and his pill intake. (He thinks I go a little overboard with the admonitions about drugs. I probably do, because one of my brothers was an addict.) When the pain subsided and my son no longer wanted the pills, I was finally able to exhale.
2. Because you may have a godchild who will be a teen one day, or you may be dating someone who has a teen.
3. Because you may work with teens or mentor a teen.
4. Because there’s a lot of good information on the site that applies to everyone, not just teens.
5. Because prescription drug abuse is a national problem. NIDA reports that 20% of Americans 12 and older have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
This will be the fourth year that NIDA is offering an online forum to several high schools for students to ask questions “about drug abuse and the science behind addiction.” Drug Facts Chat Day is on Nov. 9, the first day of what will be an entire week dedicated to shattering the myths about drugs and addiction each year.
Here are two facts I found interesting that are offered in a booklet for teens on the site:
1. You can become addicted to marijuana. “The chances of becoming addicted to marijuana or any drug are different for each person. For marijuana, around 1 in 11 people who use it become addicted.”
2. “In 2006, prescription pain medications were involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.”