Guest column/Alert: There’s some stupid stuff that can really hurt you

Everyone knows that social media can do some pretty stupid stuff. Please, take the extra time to keep up with what your children are seeing and doing at and because of social media online, and even with their friends and peers. We know, parenting is not an easy job.

Here is the latest couple of trends you need to know about. The first involves taking a bunch of Benadryl and then guessing how much you took and reaching the state of hallucination.

What? Typically considered a non-fatal drug used to treat allergies, like reactions to bee stings, kids are doing this. A 15-year-old in Oklahoma died from an overdose after taking this “challenge.” NARCAN will not stop the effects, and emergency room visits across the country are on the rise related to this “challenge.”

“Any substances, especially any pharmaceutical, even if it’s over-the-counter, can have deadly results if taken in excess,” says Dr. Tracy Neuendorf, medical officer at Family Recovery Center. “The recent abuse of Benadryl is such a stupid idea, yet there are obviously young, impressionable people reading about these stupid ideas and thinking it’s OK.”

It’s not OK.

Neuendorf warns that adults, especially parents, must monitor their children’s use of social media to better educate themselves of these dangerous ideas being pushed on youth as a “game,” a game that can become a life-threatening experience.

“The social media is capable of terrible ideas being perpetrated with terrible consequences,” Neuendorf said.

Remember the Tide pod challenge of a couple of years ago when youth were eating the pods?

Because there is no government regulation over such things, the burden of responsibility falls to the parents to protect their children from social media dangers.

Talking to your kids, explaining the risks of stupid challenges, educating them, giving them the knowledge they need to sidestep unnecessary experiences that can turn deadly very quickly. And you can’t go back and change things. You can get some solid information at Ohio’s Start Talking program, starttalking.ohio.gov.

The next “games” are pill parties, which Neuendorf says are happening in our area.

“Pill parties occur by the host putting a fishbowl at the door filled with prescription medications of variable types that have been taken from unassuming adult relatives’ medicine cabinets,” he says. “To get into the party an attendee must reach into the bowl and take out a scoop of pills, then take them without even knowing what they are taking.

“In some cases, it is required for attendees to contribute by dumping whatever pills they can find into the bowl to keep it replenished.”

Family Recovery Center educates the community to keep people safe and to keep them knowledgeable about what dangers of substance misuse are out there with routine visits to high schools and colleges, with programs like Operation Street Smart seminars and ADAPT Coalition. You may have seen FRC brochures at your doctor’s office or social services agencies. The Project DAWN program provides NARCAN and training to use it.

“There have been 88 documented overdose deaths prevented so far this year,” Neuendorf said, and he believes there have probably been more.

The risks are out there. Knowledge is key, and so is the understanding of how to use that key. FRC is a resource anyone can use when there are concerns for safety and well-being of the people in your life. Services also include treatment for addictions as well as counseling for addiction, anxiety and depression, domestic violence and PTSD. It’s all in the name: Family Recovery Center.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 1010 N. Sixth St. in Steubenville; phone, (740) 283-4946; or e-mail infor@familyrecovery.org. Or, you can visit the website at familyrecover.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

(Brownfield is a publicist at the Family Recovery Center.)


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