Summer Outreach Delivers Powerful Prescription Drug Lesson to Teens

School may be out for the summer, but the Georgia Prevention Project is still in full swing. As part of our Summer Outreach initiative, we are reaching out to local community organizations in hopes of delivering our prevention lessons to teens in summer camps and programs. Last week our Outreach Specialist, Tiffany, and I [Courtney] traveled throughout Cobb County and Gwinnett County delivering our “Not Prescribed” Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Lesson to middle and high school students. This was the first time either of us had presented “Not Prescribed” to a group of students, and it was certainly an eye opening experience. I learned that the majority of students are not receiving Rx abuse information in their regular health curriculums. Nearly every student discussed learning about the risks associated with drunk driving with a parent or teacher and many students had received a Meth prevention lesson. However, out of three presentations, virtually no students mentioned talking about the dangers and consequences of Rx abuse with a parent or teacher. I was actually somewhat surprised by how little these kids knew about prescription drugs.

I considered this both good and bad news. I was glad that the majority of these teens had not yet been exposed to prescription drugs, aside from the medications they may have taken as a result of an infection or serious surgery. I was also glad that these teens had not yet faced peer pressure to take prescription drugs, and that even their friends were staying clear of Rx abuse. However, I found it disheartening that the teens were not receiving specific prescription drug abuse lessons and were unaware of the dangers of Rx abuse. Considering that 90% of substance abuse addictions start in the teenage years, parents and teachers should absolutely be talking to their teens about these issues. Students need to hear this lesson now before the pressures and stressors of being a teenager catch up to them. The “Not Prescribed” Rx Abuse Prevention lesson serves as a powerful tool to educate teens on the appropriate way to use prescription drugs and why Rx abuse can be so dangerous.

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