1 in 5 Ventura County teens have abused prescription drugs.
Over 50% get them from friends and family.
9% of 9th graders and 14% of 11th graders in Ventura County say they’ve used prescription medications to get high.
The countywide report of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) indicates a hopeful decline in lifetime misuse of prescription drugs. However, prevention of Rx drug and heroin abuse continues to be a challenge for Ventura County youth and their families, and a focal point of the Ventura County Rx Abuse & Heroin Workgroup.
CHKS ASKS: During your life, have you used Rx painkillers or opioids, tranquilizers, or sedatives to get “high” or for reasons other than medical?
Even though prescription drug abuse seems to be declining among teens in Ventura County, there is still much we can do to prevent drug abuse and overdose.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are powerful psychoactive chemicals that have the ability to effectively relieve serious pain by binding with key receptors in the brain. When used as prescribed, opioids may help relieve and control severe or chronic pain.
Because prescription opioids can create a sense of euphoria, some people misuse them to get high. If used too much, dependency and addiction can occur and the risk of overdose increases.
Commonly misused opioids include: hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone), tramadol and codeine (cough medicine).
Fentanyl was developed as a strong prescription painkiller for patients with severe, long-term pain. It is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent and extremely dangerous to misuse. Improperly ingesting or touching even a tiny amount can cause overdose or death.
Heroin is a dangerous and illegal street opioid. People sometimes try it as a replacement for legal pain medication but it has no medical use. It is highly addictive and often deadly.
Resources for Parents
Things You Can Do:
WATCH OUT FOR PRESCRIPTION MISUSE
- Experimenting or sharing
- Ignoring label directions
- Combining unknown drugs
- Taking meds to get high
LOOK FOR WARNING SIGNS
- Changes in physical appearance
- Loss of interest or motivation
- Different friends or activities
- Unexplained pills or paraphernalia
DON’T MAKE IT EASY
- Track and secure all medications
- Block access to online drug sources
- Properly dispose of unused medication
- See Rx drug disposal locations
- Report suspicious activity privately to firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU NEED HELP
Get support. Talk to your health care provider, school counselor, prevention/treatment professional, friends or family.
For confidential treatment services
YOUTH SERVICES – SEEKING TREATMENT
Concerned about your teen?
The first step begins with a call to one of our Alcohol & Drug Youth Services Programs. You may be concerned about signs of drug use with your teen. When in doubt, speak to a professional. Just take the first step.
3 steps to get help:
1. Make the Call
The first step begins with a call to one of our Alcohol & Drug Youth Services Programs. You may be concerned about signs of drug use with your teen. When in doubt, speak to a professional. Just take the first step. Our Centers are open daily, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM. We’ll connect you to an Adolescent Treatment Counselor.
2. Talk to a Counselor
Speak to an Adolescent Treatment Counselor about your teen and your options. They will listen to your concerns and can answer your questions.
3. Schedule an Appointment
Get the support you need. As soon as you call us, we can schedule an appointment for your teen. We can accommodate your schedule. It is as simple and quick as that. Take the next step to talk about the issues and get help.
YOUTH SERVICES LOCATIONS
828 Ventura Street, Suite 250, Fillmore
1911 Williams Drive, Oxnard
Simi Valley Center
3150 E. Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley
Thousand Oaks Center
125 West Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 400, Thousand Oaks
5850 Thille Street, Suite 205, Ventura
Local Parent Resources
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE
Friday Night Live is a youth development and substance abuse prevention program that works to empower young people by allowing them to have a voice in combating issues that are important to them and their respective communities. The program provides support and opportunities for young people to develop meaningful skills while addressing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence issues within the school and community.
The FNL programs are youth-led, youth-driven programs designed for Ventura County high school, middle school, and elementary school aged youth. The collective effect of youth-serving organizations combines leadership with innovative delivery of alcohol and other drug prevention and education.
Learn more: www.vcoe.org/fnl
BREAKTHROUGH STUDENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The BreakThrough Program helps students and their families to navigate the school system safely and successfully. BreakThrough welcomes middle or high school students and families in the Conejo Valley Unified School District take advantage of unique systems of care to maximize health and minimize harms.
Students may come voluntarily or they may be referred by concerned administrators, staff, parents, or friends due to:
- Individual or family stress
- School challenges
- Family changes
- Substance abuse concerns
- Safety concerns
SAVING LIVES CAMARILLO COALITION
The Saving Lives Camarillo Coalition advances community-level prevention of prescription drug abuse. The Coalition focuses on educating seniors, students and parents about the accidental misuse of prescriptions, potential theft of medications, and unintentional dependency issues.
Saving Lives Camarillo is working with community stakeholders to determine the potential for expanding Prescription Drug Take Back locations, increasing the availability of home prescription drug lockboxes, and expanding public signage regarding take back locations and appropriate disposal methods.
Learn More: savinglivescamarillo.net
VENTURA COUNTY RESPONDS
Ventura County Behavioral Health has created a website solely dedicated to the prevention of prescription drug abuse. It includes information about overdose, addiction, medication disposals, and resources for parents, prescribers, and health workers.
Visit venturacountyresponds.org to learn more.