The ROAD Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with our R.O.A.D To A Better Life substance abuse program. Our mission at The ROAD Foundation is to reduce prescription drug abuse by raising awareness of the risks involved to local area teens in New Hampshire schools. We believe in a fact based approach and work with volunteers from our R.O.A.D. To A Better Life program who have dealt with their own addiction issues in the past to help educate local teens on the reality of addiction. Prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem and we deliver the hard truth. It is up to our audience members to use this information as they see fit.
What We Do:
The misuse and abuse of prescription medications has become a leading cause of harm among New Hampshire residents. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, one in eight young adults in the State reported abusing pain relievers during the past year. Given the risks associated with this behavior, one in eight is far too many.
The ROAD Foundation participates in live educational presentations at local area middle schools and high schools. These presentations are by invitation, and are at no cost to the schools.
Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, NH
Raymond High School in Raymond, NH
Winnacunnet High School Hampton, NH
Exeter High School Exeter, NH
The Dangerous Path to Drugs:
Research has shown that teens around 14 years of age start experimenting with recreational drugs such as alcohol and marijuana. After alcohol and marijuana, teens move onto prescription drugs to get their fix. Once they no longer have access to prescription drugs from their friends or parent’s medicine cabinets, or can no longer afford the prescription drugs, they turn to heroin. Heroin is easily accessible on the streets, is much cheaper than prescription drugs. After Heroin, the next drug of choice for teens is Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with a morphine like pain relieving effect. Fentanyl is extremely potent as it is 40-50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade (100% pure) heroin.
Each day across the country, an alarming 129 people overdose on drugs. This amounts to 47,000 people across the country each year!
How You Can Help:
Learn the Facts. Speaking with authority on any subject requires a firm grasp of the facts. The first step in speaking with your kids about prescription drugs is to educate yourself about the drugs that are being abused. Having the ability to present the facts and to respond truthfully to all questions will build credibility, greatly increasing the chances that your child will listen to you and make the right choices.
Communicate the Risks. Once you’ve learned the facts, the best way to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs among young people is to sit down and talk with them. This might sound like common sense, but surveys indicate that parents who do not communicate the risks of abusing medications to their kids as often as they talk with them about the risks of illegal drugs. Prescription drugs were the leading cause of people seeking help for substance abuse in New Hampshire in 2010. It is also important to emphasize that mixing these medications with alcohol increases their potency, greatly enhancing the risk of death by overdose.
Lock your Medications. It is estimated that approximately 70% of the people who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends and relatives. Properly managing your medications is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the illicit use of prescription drugs. If possible, remove your prescription medications from the family medicine cabinet and hide or secure them in a safe place. Even some over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup containing dextromethorphan, should be secured in a safe location. Talk with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the parents of your teen’s friends and encourage them to keep their medications hidden or secured.
Dispose of Unused Medications. Prescription drugs that have expired or that you did not use when they were first prescribed should be disposed of. For example, if you had surgery or dental work done and you were given pain pills but only took a few of them, discard the rest. Be careful how you dispose of old medications. Do not flush them down the drain. Dispose of them when your teenagers are not around. Since some teens will look in the trash for discarded medications, mix the pills with something unpleasant, such as coffee grounds, and then discard them. Also be sure to remove the labels from the prescription bottles or packaging before you discard them to prevent unauthorized refills or identity theft. Many communities are now sponsoring medication disposal events where people can safely dispose of unused or expired medications. Contact your local police department for times and locations. Click the image above to view FDA recommendations for proper disposal.
Know the Facts:
Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can have serious health consequences, including addiction and death. Young people experiment with prescription drugs for different reasons. Many first try them out of curiosity or to have a good time. Others are motivated by a desire to improve athletic performance or to ease a problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Prescription drugs are often easier to get for young people than illegal drugs because they can be taken from the medicine cabinet at home, rather than having to be bought on the streets. In addition to availability, teens often consider prescription medications to be safer than street drugs because they are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and regulated by the FDA. Since most people legally consume prescription medications, there is the belief that they are somehow less dangerous than illegal drugs. This belief is completely false. In 2008 (the most recent year for which there are statistics), over 20,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses. That’s more people than die in America each year from heroin and cocaine, combined. Prescription medications act on the same brain systems affected by illegal drugs and have a similar potential for abuse. Abusing prescription drugs can have negative short- and long-term health consequences. Opioids, central nervous system depressants, and stimulants each affect the brain and body in different ways.
Substance abuse disorders and pregnancy:
The ROAD Foundation works closely with our partner Hope on Haven Hill in Rochester, NH to offer treatment for pregnant women with substance abuse disorders who are seeking recovery. Hope on Haven Hill is a residential treatment home that takes in pregnant women who suffer from substance abuse and offers a warm, welcoming, home-like environment, where medical staff and counselors can work with women to ensure mom and baby get the medical care and emotional support they need.
Two million youth age 12 to 17 abuse prescription drugs in a given year, while each day an additional 2,000 teens illicitly use a prescription drug for the first time. In 2011, 15.2 percent of high-school seniors used a prescription drug non-medically in the past year. Data for specific drugs show that the most commonly abused prescription drugs by teens are the pain reliever Vicodin and the stimulant Adderall. According to the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders, after alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. Experts warn that the U.S. is facing a prescription drug abuse epidemic that is comparable to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s.