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faqGroupLookupString: Safe Storage and Disposal of Prescription Medications
Safe Storage and Disposal of Prescription Medications
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Safe Storage
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Deaths from prescription opioid medication abuse have more than quadrupled since 1991. The family medicine cabinet is today’s drug dealer – prescription and OTC drugs are the most commonly misused substances by Americans age 14 and older, after marijuana and alcohol. Every day, nearly 3,000 teens try to use prescription medications to get high for the first time. 

Only 11.7% of parents whose children are between the ages of 7 and 17 report locking their prescription medications. Combination locks, or medication lock boxes can prevent people from sneaking pills without being noticed. 

Safe Disposal
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Don’t Rush to flush is a county-wide medication disposal service. Dispose of your unused or expired medications in these three easy steps:

  • At home, remove pills and other solid medications from their containers and consolidate in a clear plastic zipper bag. Keep liquid and cream medication tightly sealed in their original containers. (NOTE – keep medications in their child-proof container until just prior to drop off).

  • Remove, mark out, or otherwise obscure personal information from solid and liquid/cream medication containers to protect your personal information. Recycle containers for solid medications in your household recycling.

  • Bring zipper bag and any liquids/creams to a Don’t Rush to Flush location​ and place in the bin – It’s that easy!

Note: Medications should remain in the original child-proof container until just prior to drop-off.

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​For more information, go to Don’t Rush to Flush​​​​​
faqGroupLookupString: Starting a Conversation with your Children about Drugs
Starting a Conversation with your Children about Drugs
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What can you do?
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If you’re looking for a way to help kids steer clear of drugs, one of the best things you can do is talk to them. Kids are much less likely to tune out if they feel like they’re part of the conversation. Resist the urge to lecture.

Ask Questions
  • Has anyone ever offered you drugs? Have you ever tried drugs?
  • Do any kids at school use drugs?
  • Why do you think kids and teens experiment with drugs?
  • What would you do if someone offered you drugs?
Use TV shows, news articles and movies
Movies and TV often portray using drugs as cool or a right of passage. Use this as a teaching moment, discuss it with your teen and ask questions:

  • Why do you think that person is using drugs?
  • Do you think that person is a good role model?
  • What would you do if you were in that situation?
Know the signs
How do you know if a kid is using drugs? Here are a few signs to look for:
  • Mood swings and withdrawn behavior
  • Abrupt changes in style, grooming, appetite, and sleep patterns
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Lack of motivation and a drop in grades and school performance
  • Sudden change in friends and activities
Of course, not all these signs mean that a kid is on drugs. But if your teen displays several of these signs, there might be a problem. Trust your instincts and talk with them. ​

Under Pressure
Many young people start using drugs because they feel pressured. They feel like they have to smoke a joint or pop a pill just to fit in. Discuss situations, such as parties or social events, where they might feel extra pressure to use drugs and them help them come up with good ways to say “no”.

Do’s and Don’ts when talking to Kids about Drugs

Do:
  • ​Set clear rules about drug use
  • Help them develop healthy ways of coping and dealing with stress
  • Choose a good time to talk. Avoid times when they are distracted.
  • Encourage them to get involved with extracurricular activities
  • Give some suggestions on how to say “No” to drugs, like, “Sorry, I’m driving tonight”, or “That’s illegal. I don’t want to go to jail.”
  • If you have used drugs in the past, explain why you tried drugs, talk about the negative side effects you experienced, and mentioned any drug related health problem you may have had.
  • If you never used drugs when you were young, explain how you handled peer pressure and talk about the things in your life that helped you stay drug-free.


Don’t:
  • Don’t lecture
  • Avoid scare tactics: While it’s true that drugs can kill people, kids and teens aren’t likely to respond well to scare tactics or over-the-top stories. Focus on the more realistic consequences of drug use, like: impaired decision-making skills, increased risk of drunk driving, legal problems, and addiction.
  • Don’t wait until you catch kids using drugs to think of a punishment
  • Don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Prescription medications and over the counter cough and cold medicines can be just as risky as street drugs
  • Don’t ignore your instincts. If you suspect that a kid is using drugs, talk to them. 
One of the best things you can do to help your kids and teens steer clear of drinking is talk to them.  Resist the urge to lecture.​
faqGroupLookupString: Starting a Conversation with your Kids about Alcohol
Starting a Conversation with your Kids about Alcohol
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What can you do?
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One of the best things you can do to help your kids and teens steer clear of drinking is talk to them.  Resist the urge to lecture.​

Ask Questions

  • What would you do if someone offered you alcohol?
  • Have you ever tried alcohol?
  • Do you ever feel pressured to drink alcohol?
  • Do you have any questions for me about alcohol?
Use TV shows, news articles and movies
Movies and TV often portray using drugs as cool or a right of passage. Use this as a teaching moment, discuss it with your teen and ask questions:

  • Do you think this makes drinking look cool?
  • What would you do if you were in that situation?
Remind them that it’s illegal
Make sure kids and teens know if they drink, they’re not just breaking your rules – they’re breaking the law. Discuss your state’s drinking age and talk about the consequences of underage drinking:

  • Community service
  • Getting kicked out of extracurricular activities
  • Losing their driver’s license
  • Trouble getting into college

Do’s and Don’ts when talking to Kids about Drugs

Do:

  • Set clear rules about drinking
  • Set a good example. If you drink, drink responsibly.
  • Help them develop healthy ways of coping and dealing with stress
  • Encourage them to get involved with extracurricular activities
  • Give some suggestions on how to say “No” to alcohol
Don’t:

  • Don’t lecture
  • Avoid scare tactics: While it’s true that alcohol can kill people, kids and teens aren’t likely to respond well to scare tactics or over-the-top stories. Focus on the more realistic consequences of drug use, like: impaired decision-making skills, increased risk of drunk driving, legal problems, and addiction. 
  • Don’t assume that one talk is enough
  • Don’t wait until you catch kids drinking  to think of a punishment
  • Don’t ignore your instincts. If you suspect a kid is drinking, talk to them.
  • Don’t let them drink in your home. Social hosting is illegal
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Commonly Abused Drugs and their Street Names
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Young people almost never talk about drugs by name. Instead, they refer to drugs by a variety of nicknamed, or “street names”. These street names give kids a way to discuss drugs – without having to worry about being overheard by curious parents, teachers, or other adults. Street names for drugs often pop up in movies, songs, text messages and social media posts – and adults often have no idea what they mean.

Here’s a list of commonly abused drugs and their abbreviations:

Bath Salts: Arctic blast, Blue Magic, Cloud 9, Fake Cocaine, Wicked X, Ivory Fresh, Ivory Wave, Lady Bubbles, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky and White Dove

Cocaine & Crack: Aunt Nora, Blow, Bolivian Marching Powder, Big C, Coke, Flake, Freebase, Lady, Nose Candy, Rock, Snow, Snowbird, Toot, White Lady, Yayo, Booger Sugar

GHB: Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Soal

Heroin: Antifreeze, Big “H”, Brown/Brown Sugar, Cheese (when mixed with cold medicine), Horse, Junk, Mud, Skag, Smack, Tar, Train

Inhalants: Duster, Snappers, Ozone, Poppers, Whip-its/Whippets, Laughing Gas

LSD: Acid, Battery Acid, Blotter, Elvis, Loony Tunes, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Sugar Cubes, Superman, White Lightning

Marijuana: Weed, Pot, Boom, Cannabis, Chronic, Dope, Ganja, Grass, Hemp, Herb, Mary Jane, Reefer, Skunk

MDMA: Adam, Beans, Club Drug, Disco, Biscuits, Ecstasy, Love Drug, Molly, Scooby Snacks, X, XTC

Methamphetamines/Amphetamines: Chalk, Crank, crystal, crystal meth, speed, glass, ice, tweak, black beauties

Psilocybin (Mushrooms): Caps, Boomers, Magic Mushrooms, Purple Passion, ‘Shrooms

Cough Syrup: Barre, Bo, Drank, Lean, Purple Drank, Purple Jelly, Sip-Sip, Sizzurp, Syrup, Texas Tea

Rohypnol: The “Date Rape Drug”, R2, Roach, Roofies, Rope

Salvia: Diviner’s Sage, Sage, Sally-D, Magic Mint, Maria Pastora

Steroids: Arnolds, Gym Candy, Juice, Pumpers, ‘Roids, Stackers

Synthetic Marijuana: K2, Spice, Fake Week, Blaze, Bombay Blue, Skunk, Dank, Zohai

Keeping your Kids Alcohol-Free
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  1. Be involved: Ask your teen questions that go beyond “how was your day?” Have a sincere interest in what’s going on in their lives.

  2. Be an Exemplary Role Model: Practice what you preach. Don’t become drunk in front of your teens, and never drink and drive.

  3. Dialogue: Establish a two-way dialogue with your children about drinking, whether you drink alcohol or not. Don’t just talk at them. Let them ask questions, and keep the conversation open and honest.

  4. Know the facts about alcohol use and abuse: Try to remain objective when discussing the consequences. Teens tend to already believe their parents are over-exaggerating.

  5. Advise them lovingly: Offer loving but firm advice with clear boundaries and consequences by setting down firm guidelines. Remind your teen that you love them, and that’s why you don’t want them drinking. They could hurt themselves or someone else.

  6. Reduce Availability: Lock alcohol away, or don’t keep it in the house at all. Work with other parents to minimize the availability while your child is in their home.

  7. Parental differences: If the parents of your teen’s friends openly allow underage drinking, tell your teen it’s not acceptable for them to drink. Tell them you’ll be dropping them off and picking them up. Or you can choose to not allow your teen to go to their house at all. Set a rule that your teen must never drink and drive. This should be your most serious rule. 

  8. Healthy Alternatives: Support recreational alternatives to drinking and provide alcohol-free parties for young people. This is necessary especially if other parents are more lax in their standards of what’s acceptable.

  9. Not a laughing matter: Do not joke about alcoholism or drunken behavior. Alcoholism is a serious issue, and it should not be taken lightly by your children or you.

  10. Professional Advice: Ask your doctor or pediatrician to discuss alcohol use during your children’s annual physicals. As a parent, it’s your job to protect your child’s health and wellbeing. The same goes for your doctor.  
Preventing Teen Prescription Medicine Abuse
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What is prescription medicine abuse? 
Prescription (Rx) medicine abuse is the use of an Rx medicine to create an altered state, to get high, or for any reasons other than those intended by the prescribing doctor.
 
How many teens are doing this? 
According to research conducted by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, one in four teens say they have taken a prescription medicine – that was not prescribed to them — at least once in their lifetime. This behavior cuts across geographic, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries. 

Why are some teens doing this? 
Teens are engaging in this dangerous behavior for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they do it to party and get high, but also to manage stress or regulate their lives. Some are abusing prescription stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to provide additional energy and the ability to focus when they’re studying or taking tests. Many teens are abusing pain relievers and tranquilizers to cope with academic, social or emotional stress. 

What are the risks? 
There are both immediate and long-term risks to medicine abuse. In the short term, overdosing can be fatal, as can mixing Rx medicine with over-the counter medicine and/or alcohol. In the longer term, prescription opioids (pain relievers) and other prescription medicines have been proven to be potentially addictive. Relying on Rx medicines at a young age to help “manage” life can establish a lifelong pattern of dependency and prevent teens from learning important coping skills. 

Where are teens getting prescription medicine? 
Two-thirds (66 percent) of teens who report abuse of prescription pain relievers are getting them from friends, family and acquaintances. Some teens share Rx medicines among themselves —handing out or selling their own pills or those they’ve acquired or stolen from classmates. A very small minority of teens also say they get their prescription medicine illicitly from doctors, pharmacists or over the internet. 

Are parents educating their children about the risks of this behavior? 
Research conducted by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids shows that parents are not communicating the risks of prescription medicine abuse to their children as often as they talk about street drugs. This is partly because some parents are unaware of the behavior (which wasn’t as prevalent when they were teenagers), and partly because those who are aware of teen medicine abuse tend to underestimate the risks just as teens do. A recent study by the Partnership for Drug Free Kids showed that 27 percent of parents have taken a prescription medicine without having a prescription for it themselves. This sets a dangerous example for their kids, teaching them that they don’t need to follow guidelines for proper use of Rx medicines. 

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO? 
  1. Educate yourself – learn about the misuse of prescription medicines by teens.

  2. Communicate the risks of prescription medicine abuse to your kids. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are at least 20 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message from their parents. 

  3. Safeguard your medicine. Keep prescription medicine in a secure place, count and monitor the number of pills you have and lock them up — and ask your friends and family members to do the same. 

  4. Get help. If you think your child has a problem with prescription medicine abuse, the Santa Clara County Substance Use Treatment Services can help. (hyperlink: youth services)
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Last updated: 8/28/2019 3:51 PM