My 16 year old daughter walked in on a “Skittles Party.” She was at a house party and said she left the room and went to a different part of the house with friends. She wouldn’t tell me which house, so I couldn’t call the parents. What should I do next?
First, congratulations that your relationship with your daughter is such that she would share this with you. Also called “Pharming Parties,” kids bring prescription medications swiped from home, mix them together in a bowl or bag and then everyone randomly selects and swallows a pill hoping to get a buzz or high. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more people die from overdoses of prescription painkillers than from all other drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine. Your primary responsibility is to protect your daughter, but you can protect her friends too.
Seven Ways to Prevent a Skittles Party
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- Doctors are known to over prescribe. When your doctor offers any stimulant or painkiller, ask if there is an alternative less likely to cause dependency. Lock these medications away so no one but you has access to them.
- Counter peer pressure by having an open and frank conversation about drugs and alcohol with your daughter. Information and resources for parents, including an interactive online practice tool called “Start the Talk,” are at www.SAMHSA.gov/underagedrinking/.
- Do you know your daughter’s circle of friends? Make sure you do and pay attention to newcomers. Drug addiction often starts through experimentation with prescription medications. Behavioral changes, however slight, should indicate that a conversation is needed.
- Speak to other parents and know where all of your kids are going and hanging out.
- Listen to your daughter and pay attention to who in her circle might have access to stimulants like those for ADHD and painkillers for injuries. These are the sought-after drugs for pill parties. Stimulant medications have hit college campuses by storm. Students are abusing these medications to enable grueling study sessions.
- Inform other parents when you’re going out of town or gone for a long social evening. Don’t let your empty house be an invitation for trouble.
- Use our site at National Take Back Day is April 26 to find locations where you may dispose of unnecessary prescriptions. Research shows prescription drug abuse is often a gateway to other drugs like heroin which today is cheap, easily accessible and available in non-injection form.