4 out of 10 teens believe prescription drugs are less dangerous and less addictive than street drugs. In 2016 in Arkansas, the prescription painkiller death rate for those under 55 was nearly 5 times higher than it was in 2001.

If you suspect your student is at risk

When your student starts acting withdrawn, depressed, hostile, or fatigued for no reason, you may not suspect at first for anything to be wrong. But many of these behaviors can also be signs of a drug-related problem.

An educator can pick up on other signs that could mean your student is at risk:

  • A decline in school performance or attendance
  • Consistently late to school
  • A “new” group of friends
  • Changing relationships with family and friends
  • Intermittent nodding off

What Educators can do

  • Understand the risk factors for abuse of painkillers: stress over school work or exams, trouble with friends, depression, anxiety
  • Talk with students and parents about the risks and dangers of prescription painkillers, especially opioids and narcotics
  • Encourage parents and students to ask healthcare professionals for non-narcotic painkiller alternatives if prescribed
  • Let parents and students know that you will stand by them and offer support if they need it
  • Review your school’s policies on drug use and encourage administrators to consider updating them to include use and/or abuse of narcotic painkillers
  • Watch students for signs of addiction