State of Child Conference focuses on prescription drugs

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 05:33 PM.

However, Dr. Wilkie Wilson, a research professor of prevention science at Duke University, pointed out that prescription drugs are not always safe, though often the perception is that they are because they are legally prescribed.

“An opiate that’s a prescription drug can kill you just as effectively as heroin can,” he said. “They are as equally as powerful in some cases.”

Though deaths from abuse may be widely publicized, he said abuse of prescription drugs can have negative effects on brain functions.

“Why would anyone want to poison something they really care about, which is their brain,” Wilson said. “Once you frame it that way, we believe it will become easier for kids to make the right decisions.”

He said the key to prevent prescription drug abuse among teens is education and accessibility.

“The worst thing that people do is leave their drugs in the medicine cabinet, so kids can get their hands on it,” he said.

Hodges said parents feel their teens wouldn’t abuse prescription drugs, and that may be true, but the same may not hold true for their friends.

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