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Be Part of the Solution!

Most parents have spoken to their children about illegal drugs and their harmful side effects. But did you know that legally prescribed medicines are also a cause of concern?

After marijuana, the most common drugs teens use to get high are prescription medications. 12-17 year olds abuse prescription drugs more than ecstasy, heroin, crack/cocaine and methamphetamines combined. Nationally, 15% of high school seniors have used a prescription drug not prescribed for them or for non-medical reasons in the past year. Here in Tompkins County, the rates are even higher, with 21% of seniors reporting use in the past year.

There's a reason why prescription drugs are intended to be taken under a doctor's direction: when used correctly and under a doctor’s supervision, they are usually safe and effective. But if used improperly, they can be dangerous. The dangers include dependence, slower brain activity, irregular heartbeats, dangerously high body temperature, heart failure, or lethal seizures. Mixing with alcohol or illicit drugs can result in serious health conditions, some of which are fatal. Prescription drug abuse also increases emergency room visits and suicide attempts.

Parents can make a difference. Kids who continue to learn about the risks of drugs at home are much less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about the dangers. But fewer than one in four teens report discussing the risks of abusing prescription drugs with their parents.

It’s up to YOU to talk openly with your kids!

· Talk about your rules and expectations and the dangers of misusing prescription drugs

· Safely store medications

· Watch for warning signs of abuse and get help when needed. 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) offers free, nationwide support in English and Spanish for parents and other primary caregivers of children who want to talk to someone about their child’s drug use and drinking. Call Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm ET.

· Dispose of old and unused medications. There are 9 medication drop boxes across Tompkins County, open year round. And on Oct. 26, from 10-2, collection events are taking place in Slaterville Springs and at TC3. For more information about the drop boxes or collection events, call 2-1-1 or visit www.healthyyouth.org

Monthly Messages are brought to you by:

The Community Coalition for Healthy Youth

Each monthly message is provided by coalition board members. If you have further questions or comments about this message or would like information on how to become involved with the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth, please email ahendrix@tompkins-co.org

Thank you in advance for sharing this monthly message with your networks.