It is sad to think but many kids, even right here in Pinellas County, have used drugs. As a parent it is easy to think that you only need to protect your child from outside influences when it comes to drug use. An unfortunate truth is that many kids get their first taste of drugs–especially tobacco, alcohol and even prescription drugs–right in their own homes or the home of a friend. Realistically many children have access to drugs at home, even when the parents have a strict drug-free policy. If the substances are in the home, then kids tend to have easy access.
If you or an adult in your home smokes, then kids can “borrow” their cigarettes. To avoid this try:
- Smoking in the same place- If the adult smoker always smokes in the same place, it will be easier to identify when cigarettes butts are in the wrong place. A teen may go in the backyard or to a different area of the house.
- Guard Your tobacco- If an adult in the home must smoke, then they should be responsible about it. Do not leave tobacco products lying around where family members who are not of age have access to them.
Many kids get their first taste of alcohol at home, even when parents do not allow it. (Not that we support parents who “supervise” their teens while they drink, because we do not) A good alcohol policy in a home with children should include:
- A locked liquor cabinet- Do not leave alcohol in a place that is accessible to children. Ideally it should not be in plain sight, as this makes trying alcohol more tempting. Store alcohol in a liquor cabinet or other location that can be locked and make sure that only adults have access to the key.
- Taking inventory- Did you know that almost every bar does inventory, partly in order to ensure that alcohol does not go missing? Do the same thing at home; maintain a system where you spot check your alcohol to make sure that none has been taken without your knowing.
- Setting an example- Children are more likely to drink if they see a role model drinking. Set an example for your children by limiting how much you drink, not only the amount but the frequency. Ask yourself if you really need a glass of wine with dinner or a night cap at bedtime.
The prescription drug epidemic is a massive problem. We are on the front lines from Clearwater to St. Petersburg, so knowing how to handle prescription drugs in the home is very important.
- Explain- If you are prescribed a pain medication, explain to your children that you are only taking the pill because of a doctor’s recommendation. Strictly follow the prescription and stop taking the pill when the pain is gone.
- Lock them up- If possible, store the prescription in a medicine cabinet or other area that locks. This will ensure that kids do not have access to your medication.
- Keep tabs- If you are on medication, pay attention to how many pills you have. If you make it a point to count, you will know if any pills are missing.
- Dispose of old medicine- If you have pills left over after your treatment, dispose of them. Proper disposal involves mixing them with a substance that you intend to throw away–like coffee grounds–and then sealing the old pills and the substance in a container and throwing it away.
We hope that these tips were of assistance to you. Remember that talking to your kids about the dangers of drug use is the first step in helping them form good opinions and behaviors. If you would like more information on how to maintain a drug-free lifestyle, visit us online.