Pharmacists can play an important role in educating parents and teens about the dangers of drug abuse.
Pharmacists can play an important role in educating parents and teens about the dangers of drug abuse. It is crucial for parents and teens to have open lines of communication to prevent this dangerous epidemic. It is alarming that 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.1 In fact, from 2000-2015, over half a million individuals died from drug overdoses in the United States.1
Recently, I had the great opportunity to educate parents and teens living in my community in South Florida about the drug abuse epidemic that is plaguing the nation. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, about 3,900 individuals died in Florida in 2015 due to drug overdoses involving heroin, oxycodone, and fentanyl.2 The audience had the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of prescription, illegal, and over-the-counter substances that are most commonly involved with abuse. Additionally, the importance of appropriate storage and disposal of controlled substances was emphasized to prevent prescription drug abuse.
The event was publicized through an e-mail blast and posting on the community Facebook page. Twelve parents and teens attended the program, and it served as a stepping stone to future drug abuse awareness events for the community. Teens also had the opportunity to sign a pledge regarding understanding the dangers of drug abuse and the importance of being drug free. Additionally, teens were encouraged to educate their peers and raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse.
Audience members received the following presentation handout:
What are the facts about drug overdose deaths?
How do inhalants affect the brain?
Why are bath salts dangerous?
What are the dangers of abusing cough and cold medicines?
What is Spice?
What are the dangers of abusing MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)?
I concluded the presentation with a line from the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” to emphasize the importance of saying no to drugs and standing up to peer pressure. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Please feel free to use this presentation to educate families in your community. Pharmacists can truly make a difference through drug abuse awareness education.