What's a Skittles party?

When I was a kid, Skittles were just a sweet and sour candy that you either ate or smooshed in front of the high school in the colors of the opposing team.  Yesterday, I learned about the latest drug experimentation craze among tweens and teens and it's called a Skittles Party.

A growing problem in drug abuse is prescription drug abuse. Apparently there is a misconception that something prescribed by a doctor is "safe".  And this misconception isn't limited to children and teenagers. A "skittles party" is when kids each bring a variety of prescriptions - think Ritalin, Oxycodone, Tylenol with Codeine - to a "party".  They toss the pills into a bag/container/box.  Then they reach in, pull out a random medication and take it.

In a 2005 survey by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 19% of U.S. teenagers — roughly 4.5 million youths — reported having taken prescription painkillers such as Vicodin or OxyContin or stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall to get high.

This isn't a new trend - it's been growing steadily throughout this decade (and probably earlier). What's new to me is that according to my friend at the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, kids in 5th grade are having Skittles Parties because they have NO FEAR.

My eldest is halfway through third grade. I didn't see anyone try drugs stronger than cigarettes until high school and only pot and alcohol in high school (or ever, for that matter, but I'm not all that interesting).  It bothers me a little that his prescription for Amoxicillin tastes so good that he ASKs for it.  But he knows he's only supposed to have it twice a day.

So now I am puzzled. I'm pretty sure that if I asked him if he ever considered taking someone else's medications he'd look at me like I was purple-skinned.  In an effort to address my puzzlement, I discovered that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America has some guidelines by age and that my husband and I are already doing the prevention work appropriate for my children's ages.

Check out the Parent Toolkit for preventing drug abuse - Grades K-3

But he's almost in 4th grade and the tactics change in Grades 4-6. So what are we going to do?  We'll be:

  • Emphasizing our household rules and values
  • Talking about what to do in a situation you don't like.
  • Continuing to restrict what television they watch and talk about what they see
  • Teaching them to make good choices about how they treat their bodies
  • Praying that they stay safe

What do you do to educate your children about drugs and alcohol?  When did you start?

And if you think it's harmless - check out these two links...sad.