When most people hear the word “Skittles,” they think of the traditional fruit candy. These days teens and skittles parties have become a dangerous trend. If you hear teens in your family discussing a “Skittles Party,” there is much cause for concern.
A growing problem in the world of drug use is the abuse of prescription drugs. Some people assume a medication given by a doctor is safe, even when misused. Unfortunately, this problem has also spread to teenagers in party scenes.
According to Urban Dictionary, a “Skittles Party” is:
“a party where teenagers get together with a lot of random pills usually taken from parents’ medicine cabinets. They put them all into a pile, and everyone takes a few. You don’t know what you’re taking.”
Teenagers who take part in these parties each bring a selection of prescription medications including drugs such as Oxycodone, Ritalin, and Xanax. They arrange the pills in an open container and take turns randomly choosing some to take. They may or may not be aware of the exact drug they’ve taken. Doing this is first and foremost on the list of teens and skittle parties dangers. These teens can take different drugs which have interactions with the others. They could easily overdose by taking these medications.
Rates of drug abuse among teenagers reach nearly one in every four. Partnership for a Drug-Free America in conjunction with the MetLife Foundation showed 24 percent of high school students abuse prescription painkillers such as OxyContin or stimulants such as Ritalin.
Dangers of Teens and Skittle Parties
The dangers of this type of drug abuse are virtually endless. The most common outcome is overdosing on the medication. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, even ten years ago, overdoses of medication accounted for nearly one-quarter of drug-related ER visits. Today prescription abuse accounts for 10 percent of emergency visits by teens.
Along with overdosing comes the risk of ignoring drug interactions by mixing medications. Additionally, if the user has an allergy to a drug, he or she is unlikely to acknowledge it when taking medication haphazardly. At these parties, there is almost always alcohol available. Teens and skittles parties are even more dangerous when combining alcohol with these drugs. Many times combining alcohol with prescription drugs can be fatal. Another concern is pre-existing medical conditions that may be made worse by the consumption of certain drugs.
How Parents Can Help
Many parents don’t understand what steps to take when countering the problem of drug abuse with their child. Often, they don’t even realize the prevalence of the issue itself. Most parents are on the lookout for illegal drugs and ignore the potential to misuse medications already found in the home.
The first way to tackle the problem is to remove access to medications left in the bathroom or bed area. Even if your child isn’t abusing them, they may bring friends over who steal drugs from others’ homes. Keep count of medication often to notice any that suddenly goes missing. Sort through medications that are outdated or no longer being used. Dispose of them appropriately away from home. As an extra precaution, lock up drugs when possible so they can’t be easily accessed. When it comes to teens and skittles parties, a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs is just what they want.
After removing access to any drugs within the home, talk to your teen about the issue. First, ask if they have any friends who know about the activity of teens and skittles parties. They may be more willing to open up if the conversation is centered on another person. If they admit to knowing other teens who have participated in Skittles Parties, ask if they’ve done so as well.
How to Prevent Teens and Skittles Parties
The best way to handle this problem before it starts is to have an open discussion about drug use and its consequences early in life. Make sure the conversation is appropriate for each stage of the child’s life. Hold off on more serious discussions until adolescence.
During the talks, make sure to emphasize household rules and personal values. Cover the appropriate steps to take when they are dealing with a peer situation that makes them uncomfortable. Let your child know that they should express their feelings and assert the fact that their lack of participation does not make them any less “cool.” It only shows how strong and unique they are to stand up for their beliefs, unlike those who give in to the pressure.
Emphasize the need to come and talk to you about issues with which they may be uncomfortable discussing. Let them know that you will provide them freedom from judgment when they do so. Stay informed on the latest trends in teen activities and be willing to answer questions about these events if they ask. There will be many more trends after teens and skittles parties. Teens are always thinking of something new to do with drugs and alcohol.
In daily life, try to control what influences your child on television, on the Internet, and with friends and family in the home. Even for teens, various media can be kept safe without restricting them to the point that you are smothering them. Teach them how important it is to take care of their bodies and the long-term dangers of drug use. Get them involved with a drug awareness program to teach them about the process of addiction and how this could affect them. If your teen admits to engaging in prescription abuse of any kind, seek professional help right away.
Those who abuse prescription drugs often feel as though they do not have a problem because using medication is more socially acceptable than using street drugs. Some teens may take the drugs to cope with issues such as depression or anxiety while others seek them to provide a boost during exams. These disorders should be managed separately.
While most drug prevention programs focus on common street drugs, there is also addiction treatment for the growing epidemic of prescription abuse. Teen abuse should be handled differently as teenagers are not fully developed physically or psychologically, so treatment must be tailored to fit their needs.