Rx and OTC Misuse Talking Points for Parents/Caregivers of Youth

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Parents and adult caregivers need to be educated about this problem, as well as their role in preventing it.
Below are important things to consider.
Talking points for parents and adult caregivers when talking to youth about substance use

Preschool to Age 7

Before you get nervous about talking to young kids, take heart. You’ve probably already laid the groundwork for a discussion. For instance, whenever you give a fever medicine or an antibiotic to your child, you can discuss why and when these medicines should be given. This is also a time when your child is likely to pay attention to your behavior and guidance.

Take advantage of “teachable moments” now. If you see a character in a movie or on TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking, nicotine addiction, and what smoking does to a person’s body. This can lead into a discussion about other drugs and how they could cause harm.

Keep the tone of these discussions calm and use terms that your child can understand. Be specific about the effects of the drugs: how they make a person feel, the risk of overdose, and the other long-term damage they can cause. To give your kids these facts, you might have to do a little research.

Ages 8 to 12

As your kids grow older, you can begin talks with them by asking them what they think about drugs. By asking the questions in a nonjudgmental, open-ended way, you’re more likely to get an honest response.

Remember to show your kids that you’re listening and really paying attention to their concerns and questions.

Kids this age usually are still willing to talk openly to their parents about touchy subjects. Starting a dialogue now helps keep the door open as kids get older and are less inclined to share their thoughts and feelings.

Even if your questions don’t immediately result in a discussion, you’ll get your kids thinking about the issue. Show them that you’re willing to discuss the topic and hear what they have to say. Then, they might be more willing to come to you for help in the future.

News, such as steroid use in professional sports, can be springboards for casual conversations about current events. Use these discussions to give your kids information about the risks of drugs.

Ages 13 to 17

Kids this age are likely to know other kids who use alcohol or drugs, and to have friends who drive. Many are still willing to express their thoughts or concerns with parents about it. They may ask you more specific questions about drugs.

Use these conversations not only to understand your child’s thoughts and feelings, but also to talk about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Talk about the legal issues — jail time and fines — and the possibility that they or someone else might be killed or seriously injured.

Consider making a written or verbal contract on the rules about going out or using the car. You can promise to pick your kids up at any time (even 2 a.m.!), no questions asked, if they call you when the person responsible for driving has been drinking or using drugs.

The contract also can detail other situations: For example, if you find out that someone drank or used drugs in your car while your son or daughter was behind the wheel, you may want to suspend driving privileges for 6 months. By discussing all of this with your kids from the start, you eliminate surprises and make your expectations clear.

For any questions or concerns about substance use or mental health please reach out to us and we can direct you to get qualified and accurate information.

Kratom: What Parents and Community Members Should Know

A Comprehensive Look at Kratom

Currently not illegal AND sold in packaging that lists it is not for human consumption, but that isn’t detering some youth from experimenting with kratom.

Example of kratom

There is a new trend of drug experimentation that is impacting the youth in our communities and it’s called kratom.

Information contained below comes directly from National Institute on Drug Abuse and can be considered accurate and verified.

Kratom: What is it?

Kratom is a tropical tree (Mitragyna speciosa) native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that can have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects.

Kratom is not currently an illegal substance and has been easy to order on the internet. It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets labeled “not for human consumption.” It is also sometimes sold as an extract or gum. Kratom sometimes goes by the following names:

  • Biak
  • Ketum
  • Kakuam
  • Ithang
  • Thom

Kratom: How does it affect the brain?

Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants. Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. Mitragynine also interacts with other receptor systems in the brain to produce stimulant effects.

When kratom is taken in small amounts, users report increased energy, sociability, and alertness instead of sedation. However, kratom can also cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects.

Kratom: What are the health effects?

Reported health effects of kratom use include:

  • nausea
  • itching
  • sweating
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • increased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • seizures
  • hallucinations

Symptoms of psychosis have been reported in some users.

Kratom: Can a person overdose on it?

There have been multiple reports of deaths in people who had ingested kratom, but most have involved other substances. A 2019 paper analyzing data from the National Poison Data System found that between 2011-2017 there were 11 deaths associated with kratom exposure. Nine of the 11 deaths reported in this study involved kratom plus other drugs and medicines, such as diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), alcohol, caffeine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, and cocaine. Two deaths were reported following exposure from kratom alone with no other reported substances.

In 2017, the FDA identified at least 44 deaths related to kratom, with at least one case investigated as possible use of pure kratom. The FDA reports note that many of the kratom-associated deaths appeared to have resulted from adulterated products or taking kratom with other potent substances, including illicit drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, gabapentin, and over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup.

Also, there have been some reports of kratom packaged as dietary supplements or dietary ingredients that were laced with other compounds that caused deaths. People should check with their health care providers about the safety of mixing kratom with other medicines.

Kratom: Is it addictive?

Like other drugs with opioid-like effects, kratom might cause dependence, which means users will feel physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Some users have reported becoming addicted to kratom. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • hostility
  • aggression
  • emotional changes
  • runny nose
  • jerky movements

Kratom: How is addiction treated?

There are no specific medical treatments for kratom addiction. Some people seeking treatment have found behavioral therapy to be helpful. Scientists need more research to determine how effective this treatment option is.

Kratom: Does it have any medicinal value?

In recent years, some people have used kratom as an herbal alternative to medical treatment in attempts to control withdrawal symptoms and cravings caused by addiction to opioids or to other addictive substances such as alcohol. There is no scientific evidence that kratom is effective or safe for this purpose; further research is needed.

 

For any questions or concerns about substance use or mental health please reach out to us and we can direct you to get qualified and accurate information.

COVID-19 Checklist for Community and Faith Leaders

Community and faith-based organizations are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in their communities.

Use this checklist to protect the health of those you serve and staff in your care.

PLAN AND PREPARE

  • Update your emergency operations plan with the help of your local public health department, emergency operations coordinator or planning team, and other relevant partners to include COVID-19 planning.
  • Identify space that can be used to separate sick people if needed.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information to workers and those you serve.
  • Identify actions to take if you need to temporarily postpone or cancel events, programs, and services, especially for groups at greater risk such as older adults or people with chronic health conditions.
  • Promote the practice of everyday preventative actions.
    • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow
    • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Stay home when sick.
  • Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies at your organization (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and a couple of disposable facemasks, just in case someone becomes sick during an event).
  • Plan for staff absences by developing flexible attendance and sick-leave policies, plan for alternative coverage, and monitor and track COVID-19 related staff absences.
  • Engage with stigmatized groups and speak out against negative behaviors to help counter stigma and discrimination.

TAKE ACTION

If there is COVID-19 in your community:

  • Stay informed about local COVID-19 information and updates.
  • Put your emergency operations and communication plans into action.
  • Communicate with your community members if events and services are changed, postponed, or cancelled.
  • Emphasize everyday preventive actions through intensified communications with employees and visitors to your organization.Stay home when sick.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Wash hands often.
    • Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
  • During an event, if someone becomes sick separate them into an isolated room and ask them to leave as soon as possible.