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Prevent Opioid Misuse by Your Teen

Can I Prevent My Teen from Getting Addicted to Painkillers?

Sports injuries, getting wisdom teeth removed and car accidents can all be sources of great physical pain for your teen. The last thing you want is to see your child in pain, so you let your doctor write a painkiller prescription.

But if you’ve followed the news at all or even just heard about the opioid epidemic wreaking havoc across the nation, you may be wondering if that was actually a wise decision.

Parents oftentimes find themselves in this tough situation: Watch your child suffer or put your faith in a drug that can lead to addiction. This is a common concern for parents across the country. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 900,000 teens between 12 and 17 reported opioid misuse.

The question naturally becomes, can you prevent opioid misuse with your teenager? The good news is the answer to that question is yes! There are ways to lower your teen’s risk for opioid addiction, and we’re here to provide a few tips that can help prevent opioid misuse with your teen.

Tip 1: It’s Okay to Question the Doctor

In general, it’s common for people to not ask their doctor enough questions about their own or their child’s healthcare. After all, who are you to question someone who is trained and licensed to diagnose conditions and prescribe remedies?
But the truth is, you need to advocate for your child and make sure you understand all the risks of drugs your doctor is prescribing. If your teen is expected to get an opioid prescription following an injury or surgery, come prepared with questions. Here are some questions we recommend asking:

  • Are there any other medication options that don’t include opioids?
  • What can you tell us about the risks of opioid misuse?
  • How many pills are being prescribed, and over how long a period?

Asking these types of questions helps build trust between you, your teen and the doctor. By having clear answers to these questions, you’ll be able to ensure that your teen follows the directions of the prescription set by your doctor and doesn’t overuse them.

Tip 2: Practice Proper Medication Management

For starters, don’t let your teen manage their prescription on their own. Keep their prescription locked up or with you at all times, and give them the proper dosage when necessary. For your teen, it helps to remove the temptation to misuse or share opioids with their friends. After all, roughly 70% of teens get access to additional painkillers from someone they know.

For added security, you can even keep a record of the medication usage. This will help you identify if any pills are missing.

It’s also common for people to have unused opioids or old prescriptions in their home. An easy way to lower the risk of prescription opioid use in your home is to get rid of any extra pills. Start by going through your medicine cabinet and collecting expired and unused medicine. Make sure the medication is disposed of properly. This will help give you peace of mind that your teen isn’t taking additional painkillers that don’t belong to them.

Tip 3: Have Open and Honest Conversations with Your Teen

Since many opioids are prescribed by a doctor, teens can often not fully understand the risks. It’s important to have a conversation and not a lecture with your child about the risks and consequences of misusing these drugs. This gives your teen an opportunity to learn about painkillers and express their feelings and opinions openly.

The honesty shouldn’t stop there. If your teen has any increased risk factors like family history or trauma, put it out in the open. By showing open and honest behavior, you’re helping encourage your teen to do the same. After all, should the temptation of prescription opioid misuse occur, you want to know about it.

At first glance, it’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to your teen and the opioid epidemic. But these tips can help you keep an eye on your child’s painkiller use and hopefully help prevent them from falling into the grips of opioid addiction.

Learn How Kokua Recovery Can Help Your Teen

If your teen is suffering from an opioid addiction, Kokua Recovery is here to help. We know that there’s nothing you want more than to see your child healthy again. If you’re ready to spark the hope for change, contact our team today and get started.

Ken Huey

Upon graduating from Purdue with a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Dr. Huey worked as a therapist, Clinical Director, and Business Development Director in residential treatment. Dr. Huey was always drawn to the large population of adoptees in residential treatment (he is adopted himself). He ultimately became convinced that this population needed specialty care and in November of 2006, Dr. Huey founded Calo. Calo grew to a 200 plus employee organization with about the same numbers of teen clients served each year. He sold Calo and retired in June of 2015. He came out of retirement in 2017 and founded Kokua Recovery, trauma-informed residential drug and alcohol treatment with sites in Colorado.

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