Chief Domenic J. DiMella
27 Hamilton Street
Saugus, MA 01906
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 19, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Saugus Police Offer Tips to Parents to Prevent Opioid Addiction Among Children
SAUGUS — Police Chief Domenic DiMella and the Saugus Police Department are offering tips to parents to prevent children from becoming addicted to opioids and to recognize the signs of dependence.
“Opioid addiction in Massachusetts has reached frightening levels,” Chief DiMella said. “Anything we can do as a department to better educate our community, especially parents, about the risks and signs of addiction, is a step toward ending this epidemic.”
Young adults may develop a dependence on opiods as the result of taking a prescription to treat an injury, access to painkillers at home, or borrowing them from friends. Commonly prescribed opioids include Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Fentanyl. While these medications are effective when prescribed and taken appropriately, they can be abused and lead to addiction, overdose, or the use of other drugs.
To prevent abuse, Chief DiMella recommends that parents:
- Talk to your children and warn them about the potential dangers of taking medications that are not prescribed to them, including addiction and overdose.
- Be clear on your expectations about drug and alcohol use and support the healthy decisions your children make.
- If your child needs medication while at school, request an eight to 12 hour dose so you can administer it to them at home. If medications must be taken during school hours, give them to the school nurse.
- Ask your doctor if any medications prescribed for anyone in your family have the potential for abuse.
- Take a regular inventory of medications that are kept in your home that have the potential for abuse.
- Keep medications in a secure location away from your children. Consider purchasing a locked box to store medications that can be abused.
Disposing of unused prescription rugs:
- Bring unused medications to a secure medication dropoff box located at Saugus police station. Find a drop box in your area.
- Do not flush medication down the drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
- Remove medications from their containers, crush them and mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Place the mixture in an unmarked container, like an empty can or sealable bag, and throw the container in the trash.
Signs your child may be abusing or misusing opioids:
- Pills or medication bottles are missing from your home
- They’re taking medication in excess of what has been prescribed
- Abrupt changes in their finances
- Dramatic mood changes
- Lower grades in school, different friends, or alterations in sleep or appetite
- Loss of concern about appearance
- Physical signs such as fatigue, confusion, weight loss, slurred speech, dizziness and changes in pupil size
Get more information
Anyone who experiments with these powerful medications is at risk of becoming addicted or overdosing. If you suspect your child may be having a problem with prescription opioids or heroin, call the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline (800-327-5050). They will provide free and confidential information about substance abuse, education, and counseling resources for adolescents, families and adults. For more information, visit www.mass.gov/stopaddiction.