Stay involved with teens to stop drug abuse, doctor says

Jul 30, 2012

By Charlotte Stewart

What three kinds of drugs are teenagers most likely to abuse?

“Alcohol, marijuana and nicotine,” responded an audience member Tuesday at a presentation on youth drug abuse held at the Longview Public Library.

Presenter Dr. David Adams responded, “Alcohol, marijuana and prescription medications .”

Adams, a Longview chiropractor, said these are often the drugs with the easiest access.

“For instance, there was a mom who had a surgery and was given Vicodin (hydrocodone) for pain relief. She took a few , and there is that leftover Vicodin in the medicine cabinet. That’s a pretty big temptation,” Adams said, adding this is a common scenario.

Locking the medicine cabinet is a  solution, but kids are  resourceful, and if they want to get into it probably will find a way, he said. Even if the kids in that home don’t touch the medication, a visiting child might.

“Count the pills,” Adams said. “Know the amount of medication you should have, and keep your bottles turned a certain way — maybe always facing front, always facing back, or with the expiration date visible — so you will know at a glance that your medication has been tampered with.”

Among the best ways to determine whether your child is abusing drugs is to ask, Adams said.

He added that teaching children to say “No” is a good start, but doesn’t go far enough.

“ ‘No’ is pretty easy to get around. Think about the times you’ve started with a ‘no’ and relented. Teach them to be so dramatic that they don’t’ feel they need to say yes, and won’t be asked again. Try yelling, ‘Are you crazy! We could go to jail!’ Then practice this with them. Pretend to offer them drugs so they can practice saying ‘Are you crazy! We could go to jail!’ Give your children tools to fight back.”

Keeping involved in your child’s life and keeping your children involved in activities is the most important step in fighting drug abuse.


Drug abuse signs

■ Drop in grades

■ Dropping extra-cirricular activities

■ Bloodshot, glassy eyes

■ Excessive fatigue

■ Mood swings

■ Less interaction with family

■ New set of friends

■ Change in eating patterns

■ Money missing

■ Sleep problems

■ Aggression or outbursts of anger

■ Missing medications

Note: Dr. David Adams warns to look for multiple signs, not just one, over a length of time . These signs could also be symptomatic of an illness.