It has finally be reported that Heath Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose. According to CNN, Ledger had unknowingly mixed prescription drugs into a lethal combination. This is a terribly sad story and many of the teens I work with have wanted to discuss it with me, because he truly was an actor of our generation. I think that in remembering his legacy, it is also a good time to talk to kids and teens about prescription drug use.
Unfortunately, the use of prescription drugs for recreation amongst teens has risen significantly. I will never forget that during midterm time, many of my college friends would pass around bottles of Adderal to stay awake and cram. They would combine these ‘uppers’ with coffee, red bull and then tranquilizers when they finally had time to sleep.
Ledger’s death is a horrible reminder that prescription pills can be dangerous if not taken correctly. Please talk to your kids about prescription drugs!
1) Explain that Prescription Drugs are Powerful
2) Explain the Potential Consequences of Mixing Drugs
3) Explain the Potential Consequences of Taking Drugs for a Condition You Do Not Have
Specifically, it is important to talk to your kids about the use of ADD medication and uppers in schools. Here is an article from Brandeis Student Newspaper about taking ADD medication to study. Many times, this can actually cause ADD like symptoms in once normal students!
4) Keep An Eye On Your Pills and Their Behavior
I hate to suggest this, but it is important to notice if some of your prescription drugs are missing. Keep an eye out for odd behavior and/or unusual cramming before an exam.
*Image Courtesy of The Cinema Source
Prescription drug addicts suffer the same fate as other substance addicts hence addiction treatment should be sought for those struggling with any type of dependency no matter the substance.