Have you talked to your teenager about drugs lately? Have you asked them if they are stressed about grades, or end-of-year-tests, or if they have heard about kids taking prescription drugs to try to get ahead in school?
If you haven’t, now would be a good time to do it.
Recent polls from the University of Michigan have shown a major gap between how many parents think their kids might be using “study drugs” prescription stimulants or amphetamines to improve their school performance and how many 13-17 year-olds report actually using the drugs. While only 1% of parents think that their kid has used a study drug, 10-12% of high school students report using a stimulant they haven’t been prescribed to stay awake during class or help them study longer.
The kids may be getting the drugs from friends who have been diagnosed with ADHD and use them to help stay focused. But for kids who don’t need them for a medical condition, the drugs “can lead to acute exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms, and even confusion and psychosis if the teens get addicted and go into withdrawal,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., and director of the C. S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
While this data and the consequences are alarming, perhaps even more alarming is that about half of the parents polled the same ones who said they don’t believe that their kid would use study drugs said they were “very concerned” about this issue in their community, but only about a quarter of the parentshad actually talked to their kids about using drugs to help them study more or stay awake.
Let’s get on this, parents. It’s our job to make sure our kids know about the dangers of drugs even prescription drugs. Their health is more important than their grades.