Being a teenager means getting to do more things on your own, like going to the mall or the occasional party with a friend. Yet, partying can lead to situations involving peer pressure and unseen dangers. Here are some safety guidelines to help keep every teen safe when out on the town.
Attend parties only with people you know and trust. Make sure never to attend a party alone, use the buddy system. The buddy system means you watch out for your buddy and they watch out for you and buddies do not leave one or the other unattended for any length of time. Finally the golden rule of the bubby system is if you arrived together then you leave together.
One of the most important safety guidelines parents can teach their teen is to never accept a food or beverage from anyone, regardless of how well they trust them. Drink cans or bottles of soda or water, and when opening a new can or bottle listen for the snap of the safety seal or the pop of the can as it opens. If you leave an open can or bottle unattended even a minute than toss out the old drink and obtain a new beverage.
The reason this is so important is there are drugs, called date rape drugs, which are virtually undetectable by taste or odor and the drug will render someone unconscious, leaving them unaware that they are being raped. These drugs are very powerful. By using the buddy system there is safety in numbers.
There is a new trend in teenage partying called pharm parties. A pharm party involves teens combining various legally prescribed medications in one bowl and then sharing by the handfuls. The medication is usually obtained from home medicine cabinets. Medications are stolen from a parent, other family member, legal guardian or friend of the family.
The drugs of choice include narcotic painkillers, anti-depressants, and benzodiazepines (which are prescribed for anxiety) and since most parents trust their child explicitly they do not consider locking up their medication. These are legal drugs which are easily accessible to teen’s right in their own home. As a psychiatric nurse I have admitted many teens who claim to practice “pharming” behavior, and they have no insight into the high risks this pharming poses.
A safety contract is a good idea for teens and parents. This means you let your teen know that he or she can call you anytime, for any reason and ask to be picked up without worrying about the immediate consequences. In addition, you as mom or dad agree to pick your son or daughter up when called without lecturing or asking a lot of questions about what happened until the next morning when emotions have settled. This is provided no one is hurt or in immediate danger, and is especially important in cases where there is alcohol or drugs at a party.
In the event of an emergency always encourage teens to call 911. Be sure your teens cell phone is programmed with your number as in ICE contact. ICE, means In Case of Emergency, and alerts authorities how to contact you if there is a problem and your teen is unable to tell authorities a phone number. ICE numbers are becoming standard protocol across the nation for both adults and minors.
Finally by teaching children to be strong individuals helps them to resist peer pressure. Teens should never do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable! Teach them that little voice in their head is their conscience and it will keep them safe if they learn to listen carefully. If that little voice tells them to get out or go home, they should listen and get to safety. Ultimately safety is an individual responsibility.