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Drug Overdose Strategy Must Emphasize Prevention

Our very own Bob Kondraske of ARCpoint Labs of Doylestown wrote an insightful response on July 8th  for an article, A dubious distinction: State cracks top 10 in drug overdose deathsthat The Intelligence posted. Below is Bob’s response.

Drug overdose strategy must emphasize prevention

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:15 am

I was very taken by Deb Beck’s Guest Opinion (July 4) concerning the fact that Pennsylvania is now in the top 10 states in drug overdose deaths. Importantly, I agree with most of the legislations she outlined.
However, most of her ideas are targeting the expansion of addiction treatment versus addressing this sooner. We need more engagement at the early stage of trial, when kids today are experimenting or when peer pressure is at its greatest. Prevention needs to be higher on the list of initiatives in order for us to really make a difference.

Specifically, parents need to become more educated and involved in drug usage and addiction behaviors. They need to realize that “their” kids could be doing drugs. The Intelligencer has published so many articles recently on how the drug abuse situation has escalated in this area. But parents seem immune to the fact that it could be their children who are the abusers.

One idea is to develop a drug- and alcohol-free home contract. This could be similar in scope to the ones used when teenagers first learn to drive. The contract would enable parents to have a constructive conversation on this issue with their children. Communications between parent and child, parent to parent, and parent/child to professional help is key. It should also include a random drug testing program at a lab that is equipped to handle drug testing with ultimate accuracy and confidentiality. This would be similar to random testing programs implemented by many school districts around the country, but in this case, the parents manage it. This would enable parents to not just take their kids word on this important issue but, in the end, it would enable parents to discover if they have someone who could be on the verge of being an addict.

And if their child tested positive for a particular illicit drug, they will be able to get the proper counseling and help. Drug testing will only take a few minutes, but it could be worth a lifetime.

Bob Kondraske