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Tips for Keeping Teens Safe from Online Opioid Sales

When the Food and Drug Administration called on internet service providers and social media companies last month to more carefully monitor online sales of opioids, it highlighted the role the web plays in fueling the opioid epidemic.

“We find offers to purchase opioids all over social media and the internet, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Google, Yahoo and Bing,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. “Many illicit drugs that enter the U.S. are bought and sold online, including drugs laced with fentanyl.”

Gottlieb plans to meet with leaders of internet companies to identify technology gaps and find new solutions, the PartnershipTM for Drug-Free Kids reported on their website, quoting a Wall Street Journal article. But online sales of opioids aren’t the only threat to our children posed by the internet.

That’s why it’s so important for parents to be aware of their children’s online activities and cell phone usage. It’s all part of setting limits and monitoring their behavior, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Who is in your child’s online social networks?
  • Who is in their cell phone address book? If you can’t look on his or her phone, look at the monthly bill and note unfamiliar numbers.
  • Who are your child’s friends — and their parents?

Other good ideas:

  • Only allow screen time in public areas of the home.
  • Establish rules and consequences for drug or alcohol use. A firm consequence, such as getting grounded or having to give up a fun privilege, will remind your child what not to do in the future.
  • Write a contract with your child. You can download a template from this article posted on the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website.

The Partnerships for Drug-Free Kids has created a new eBook to give parents the knowledge and skills they need to help prevent opioid misuse, spot early use of opioids and take effective action. It suggests parents have ongoing conversations with their teen or young adult about the risks of substance use, especially opioids (e.g., prescription pain medications like Percocet® and Vicodin®), as well as heroin.

For more information on their recommendations, see “Your Comprehensive guide to the opioid epidemic — and what you can do about it.”

To learn more about what you can do to battle the opioid epidemic, check out these other blogs:

 

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog

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