With an innocent sounding name but potentially deadly consequences, “Skittles parties” have grown in popularity over the last decade. So what exactly is a Skittles party? It goes something like this: Kids raid parents’/grandparents’ medicine cabinets for drugs like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Tylenol with Codeine and Ritalin and find a place to gather with friends. They combine the drugs into a baggie and take turns reaching into the bag and ingesting whatever they pull out.
Skittles parties have become more prevalent in recent years—not surprising considering that doctors have been doling out prescription medications to adults with increasing frequency. If the thought of your tween or teen child taking random combinations of prescription medications sounds terrifying, take appropriate action to ensure your child doesn’t end up in a very dangerous situation.
Here are some statistics about teenage drug abuse:
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2009, 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website.
NIDA’s website further reports, “the NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 2.7% of 8th graders, 7.7% of 10th graders, and 8.0% of 12th graders had abused Vicodin and 2.1% of 8th graders, 4.6% of 10th graders, and 5.1% of 12th graders had abused OxyContin for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.”
Here are some things parents can do to protect their kids:
- Make sure all prescription drugs and other drugs are absolutely inaccessible to kids, even if that means locking the drugs away.
- Even if your prescriptions are locked away, keep an inventory—count pills if necessary.
- Know your kids’ friends and trust your instincts.
- Know where your kids are and communicate with other parents.
If your teen has a drug problem, the rehab treatment program at Northbound Treatment Services can help. Our expert clinical staff is trained to help teens and adults break their addiction and learn healthy coping skills. Call us today or visit our website for more information about or treatment options.