Sunnyside United investigates youth risk factors

How are children getting a hold of prescription drugs and what parents can do to limit those opportunities was a topic of discussion during last Thursday’s Sunnyside United meeting.

Most prescription drugs are not locked away in bathroom medicine cabinets in the home. In fact, the group agreed that most times the bottles of pain medications, antidepressants, cough syrups and other doctor prescribed medicines are sitting in plain sight in the home, by easy chairs or on kitchen tables.

And, most people don’t dispose of those unused drugs once they are recovered from their ailments.

As Sunnyside United continues its process of identifying risks of alcohol, drug use and youth gangs, it is attempting to create a logic model, which will address some of the factors that lead to the risk factors while developing educational plans for combatting such things as the noticeable increase in prescription drug use by youth, explained Sunnyside United volunteer Marissa Howat.

Prescription abuse maybe less obvious, she said, but the cause is seated in the ease of availability.

Prescription drug abuse is being reported in the middle schools and parents are beginning to ask “…how can we dispose of those drugs safely,” said Howat.

In addition to the ease of drug availability is the effect these drugs used improperly is having on youth, added Cathy Kelley, Sunnyside United coordinator. “We also need to know what drugs kids are using.”

“We have to follow the source, she said, but also help parents know how to get rid of the prescription drugs.

One way she suggested, was to encourage parents to take advantage of such events as an upcoming Crime Stopper shred and take-back prescription day event, planned for this coming Saturday, April 26.


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