Parents: Talk to your teen about prescription drug abuse

Because of having to take medications for so long, Laurie said she doesn't think he son would ever use drugs for recreation.

"That part of it has deterred him from wanting to take any other prescription drugs," she said.

Among their children, the Squires also keep communication open, allowing their children to voluntarily give information. They then discuss the topic as a family or one-on-one.

Communication is key

Parents can take a lesson from the Squires' methods.

Steven Blatt, director of Division of General Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate, urges parents to address the prescription drug issue as they would alcohol or tobacco use - by clearly stating their expectations for their child's behavior before an incident arises.

"I would like to emphasize that the best antidote for this is for parents to talk to kids about how they want their kids to act," Blatt said. Research has shown that while kids respond to conversations on the tough topics with their parents, parents are hesitant to engage in them.

"For parents, if a child does experiment with something, it doesn't mean the child is a terrible child, or the parent is a terrible parent," Blatt added. "It means they need more guidance. It doesn't mean everybody's a failure - it means you have to try more."

Berry said parents who are willing to or are already talking to their kids about prescription drug abuse should be congratulated.

For those who might not have taken that step yet, Berry said parents need to learn how to recognize a potential problem and then sit down and talk to their kids about the dangers.

"Arm yourself with education," Berry said. "Talk to parents or get on [the] internet or call Prevention Network and talk about what kind of things kids are using so you're not just talking blindly."

Squires said that one way for parents to monitor what their teens are doing is to stay on top of where they're going and who they are with. Though some kids are too busy to get in trouble, community involvement may be the key for some.

"Pay attention to how they're acting," she said. "They still have their free will."

Even though kids are faced with peer pressure every day, she said a solid foundation at home would help keep children on the right path and teach them to make better decisions.

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