Death by Prescription

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Death by Prescription

Post  hafizuddin on Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:41 am

A grieving father's vow to educate families on the dangers in their own medicine cabinets.

Gary L. Neal
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
Updated: 11:46 AM ET Jun 26, 2008

Harrison was the boy next door. He was the boy who took your daughter to the prom, the helpful kid who waited on you at the local store. His life came to a tragic end in 2006. Something powerful overtook my son—something that could be lurking in your house.

Harrison was 17 when he died of a prescription drug overdose. He had the day off from school to celebrate Thanksgiving, so it was perfectly natural for him to sleep in. But he wasn't sleeping—his mother found him in bed, dead. Harrison had somehow gotten hold of pain pills—prescription drugs—and he took them to get high. When he mixed those with the common cold medicine he was taking, it killed him. We believe that he simply did not understand how dangerous it was.

The afternoon before he died, we had a great time in the woods together. There was a beautiful evening sky, the owls hooting and coyotes howling. It was almost magical.

Harrison's death has been painful beyond belief. I have grown closer to my family. We share the normal family bonds, but we also share the unfortunate tragedy of his death, the memories of his wonderful life cut too short. My wife, children and I continue to work through the guilt, depression and anxiety, and will for a long time.

It has been difficult in countless ways—no one can imagine the heartache and grief caused by losing Harrison this way. Not a day goes by that I don't think about prescription drug abuse, wondering if there was more that we could have done for Harrison, a way we could have prevented this from entering our home.

I spend more time at home now, letting others take a more active role at my business. I want to be closer to my family and to everyone I love. I have committed myself to helping parents recognize and take important steps to prevent prescription drug abuse in their homes.

The reality is that parents are simply not informed about prescription drug abuse. The statistics are unbelievable. A recent survey by Abbott and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America shows that one in five teens abuses prescription drugs—that's 20 percent of our teenagers. Every day, 2,500 teens try prescription drugs for the very first time. Everyone knows the benefits of their medications when used as prescribed; few of us understand the dangers when these same medications are abused.

To bring some kind of sense to our tragedy, I tell parents to get informed, to look for the warning signs. And even if you don't see or suspect anything, talk to your teens and secure your medications. This is about "us," the average Americans, not about "them." It is not "their" kids, it is "our" kids, good kids who may understand about "bad" drugs but have no clue of the dangers when it comes to prescription medications that they often see in their parents' own medicine cabinets. Even my 21-year-old daughter has committed herself to the cause and frequently speaks to young people about prescription drug abuse.
In my work with Abbott and the partnership, we've developed a website called www.notinmyhouse.com that teaches parents how to talk to their teens about prescription drug abuse.

Just as important, it gives parents easy steps that can help save their children: monitor, secure and dispose. Know what prescriptions you have in your house—know how many pills are in each bottle. For those medications that may be abused, such as stimulants, depressants and pain pills, lock them up. Don't leave them easily accessible. And when you are finished with your medicine—get rid of it. Don't let your pills end up in the wrong hands, the schoolyard or your community. Parents need to take the blinders off, stop thinking that this is a problem that affects other kids, and take action immediately.

My son Harrison and I shared a very special bond. We were companions and best friends. I never could have imagined that prescription drug abuse would become a focal point in my life. My participation in Not in My House is a tribute to my son. I believe in honoring the dead by living—living a life of service, and with love and compassion. I know Harrison would be proud of the work my family and I are doing on speaking out on this important issue. Harrison believed in service to community, and this is something he would have done. By speaking of his life, his battle with drugs, his death, I am closer to him.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/143345
© 2008

commentary- I believe, due to modernization of society over the years, most working parents spend more time at work hence becoming less concern of their children’s upbringing. With no guidance under their own roof, teenagers can easily give in to temptations and peer pressure. I agree with the author that parents should show more concern in this subject. Both the community and government should take a stand as well in curbing their local teenage problems in ensuring a better image of their nation, the sustainability of their future development and reducing the rise of more teenage problems. For example, schools can conduct a drug-screening exercise on their students monthly or have a safe drug-consumption education to remind them of its consequences plus other negative temptations that are still present in the community.

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WANJING's Comment

Post  WANJING on Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:00 pm

This article can be used as an example for Science & Tech essay questions.
A question like "How far should scientists be held responsible for the discoveries they make?" can be answered using this article as one of the points.

You can say that...

Evil can be brought about by those who misued the inventions. In the field of medicine, drugs were invented to cure numerous diseases and illnesses. For example Paracetamol is invented to cure headaches and cold. However, if one were to be prescribed with wrong medication or consumed more than required, then he or she may die. (Then you can bring in the article ) Even though The scientist's discovery has saved many , it also brings evil to them. We should not blame him just because he was the one who created it but we should blame the user who misused his invention. Hence, the scientists should not be held resposible for the discoveries they have made.

I just want to bring out the point that this article can be used as examples not only in Social related Qns but also in others eg.. sci and tech.

lol!
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Re: Death by Prescription

Post  Naim Le Victoria on Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:28 pm

interesting article i must say.
i think your review was ok, though a bit short.
this article talks about the result of teenagers dying due to abusing prescription drugs.
you can also include in your that such a thing was able to take place possibly due to the communication problems that some parents have with their teenage children due to different circumstances such as breakdown of family or maybe even the conservative culture that families usually cultivate, like in Singapore.
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Re: Death of prescription

Post  Ana on Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:03 pm

Interesting article that addresses some hidden social problems.
You could have comment on the type of freedom teenagers should have according to their maturity ;evel. In this case, Harrison was not old enough to make wise decisions due to his lack of knowledge and curiousity. Hence, sometimes parents should have a say over their kids! In addition, you could use this example to ahow that life may be fated. Also, you could proof the ineffectivness of these social help groups in helping troubled teenagers as the statistics of teenagers having drug abuse is alarming.
Overall, good effort!!

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Re: Death by Prescription

Post  Vishaal on Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:46 pm

This article addresses the issue on science and technology and on social issues as stated above. Your commentry is also well done with proper evaluation on other factors in helping to curb the issue of drug abuse.
In accordence with the article, you can also use it to show the grief that parents go through when their children die due to drug abuse, which can help to justify if the death sentence is a proper form of deterence in a society or something along that line.

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gis's comment

Post  HikaRu on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:31 pm

nice one.
you could have mentioned that the boy got hold of the drug easily and people also do not know where it came from. this shows the weak restrictions on the precription of the drugs in today's society whereby anyone could have easily obtain drugs whenever thay want.

The invention of drug in the first place was to find treatment and cure to sickness and diseases. however due to the actions of mankind, who abuse the purpose of the drug, it became harmful to a certain extent.....

could be use in various topic: science and tech, social, values and maybe crime and punishment.

giselle(:
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alermak

Post  hafizuddin on Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:09 am

alermak not bad ah...hahaha---alrite ill take ur critics constructively, and takes for being active and not passive such as korlin's grp hahahaha, no offense, jokes!

k next up?

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