Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



February 2011

Prescription drug abuse - Arizona teens get high with legal drugs

by Staff, on abuse, Arizona, drugs, legal, substance, teen, teens

Millions of people live longer healthier lives because of prescription drugs. However, not taking medications as directed or using another one's medications can be devastating or even deadly. Prescription drug abuse can be just as dangerous and addictive as taking illegal street drugs.

Unfortunately, more and more teenagers from Arizona tend to prescription drug abuse. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs only second to Marijuana.
- Prescription drugs are easily obtained. Teens can easily get them from friends. Many can easily find them in a medicine cabinet at their own house.
- Prescription drugs provide teens with a sense of security. They believe that because they are from a doctor no harm can come from use
- Over the counter drugs such as cough medicine have become increasingly popular with teens as well.
- Many teens mix prescription drugs with each other or alcohol to achieve a more effective high

There are many reasons why teens abuse prescription drugs. This includes getting high, losing weight, or building up on muscles. In a recent survey, 6.2% of Arizona State University respondents reported using Adderall or Ritalin-type medications without a prescription in the last year. The belief is that these drugs will provide focus for studying and projects.  While focus is one possible effect, these are powerful drugs that can have serious and even life-threatening side effects.

There are 3 categories of drugs most commonly abused:
- Stimulants (Adderal, Ritalin and Dexedrine), commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
- Depressants (Ativan, Valium and Xanax), prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders;
- Painkillers (morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone).

All of these drugs can be easily found, very often in their own homes, which makes prescription drug abuse easier for the teens. Parents should be very careful with their medicine cabinets, and should control how their children use prescription drugs. Also, proper usage of prescription drug should be very carefully explained to children, together with consequence of prescription drug abuse.

Parents should also know the even bigger problem: mixing various drugs, and taking them all with alcohol. This is usually done at so-called pharm parties. Parents should pay attention if their teens mansion it in conversations with their friends, along with some other slang: Big boys, cotton, kicker; Chill pills, french fries, tranqs; "Pharming" (pronounced "farming"); "Bowling parties"; "Happy Little Pill Time"…

If they find anything suspicious, parents should be alarmed immediately, as this problem must be taken seriously, prescription drugs abuse is a real drug problem. Staff