Prescription drugs on campus

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Parents are urged to talk to their kids

TEMPE -- The possibility of kids easily obtaining prescription medications right on campus is probably not something most parents think about when they send their children to school, but it's a growing problem in schools across the nation.

We're talking about prescription medication such as Ritalin ending up on school campuses in the hands of kids as young as 12.

As the eyes and ears at McClintock High School, Resource Officer Brandon Banks makes sure the campus stays a drug-free zone.

"Fortunately, this is not a problem at McClintock. We have not dealt with this yet and we don't want to," he said.

Students bringing and sharing prescription medications at school is a nationwide problem.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, prescription drug abuse by teens and young adults is a serious problem.

In their annual tracking study they found that:

- 1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription pain medication;

- 1 in 5 reports abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers;

- 1 in 10 has abused cough medication.

They are eye-opening statistics, which is why Banks has made it a priority to get the word out about prescription medications to students and their parents.

"We had a narcotics detective come in and speak to our administration here at McClintock High school," Banks said. "And he shared with us at that time that this had become a bit of a challenge in the narcotics unit and for us to be aware of it, to be cognizant."

Many of those prescription drugs include Ritalin and Adderall, both used to treat ADHD.

"Although they work great in the children that need them, they do definitely have their risks in the kids that think they need them," Banks said.

According to Dr. Anthony Pickett at Phoenix Children's Hospital, an overdose can cause rapid heartbeat, seizures and even death.

Banks says parents can help by making sure they give their child only the daily dosage and keep the rest locked up. They also need to make sure the school is aware that their child takes prescription medication.

While Banks says this is something to be concerned about, he emphasizes that this is not a problem they are dealing with at McClintock High School.

He urges parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of these medications.