Teen Prescription Drug Abuse--But Mother, They Were In Your Medicine Cabinet
OF PASCO COUNTY, LLC
By Steve Hayes,
TEEN PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America:
- 1 in 5 teens has abused a
prescription pain medication
- 1 in 5 teens report abusing
prescription stimulants and tranquilizers
- 1 in 10 teens have abused cough
According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy:
- Though overall teen drug use is
down nationwide, more teens abuse prescription drugs than any other
illicit drug except marijuana - more than cocaine, heroin, and
- Every day, 2,500 kids aged
12-17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time and more people
are getting addicted to prescription drugs.
- Drug treatment admissions for
prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to
- Teens are abusing prescription
drugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a
- Especially troubling is that
the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs say they are easy to
get and are often free.
Novus some of our patients are young people who tell us about parties that kids
as young as 11 attend. Instead of bringing a present, each child is to
bring some prescription drugs that they got from their parents' medicine
cabinet. When they arrive at the party, they go into a room and pour the
drugs into a punch bowl. Then the kids will take turns reaching into the
bowl and taking a handful of pills. Sometimes the kids combine
this with alcohol--an often lethal combination.
confronted by astounded parents, their children often remark that it is ok
because these are not illegal drugs-- they were purchased at a pharmacy and,
after all, they were in their parents' medicine cabinet. A 15-year-old
was quoted as saying that she saw the drug advertised on television and if it
were dangerous it wouldn't be on television.
SOME DON'T GET A SECOND CHANCE
is not pleasant, but if you spend a few minutes on the internet you will see
not statistics but real stories of prescription drug overdoses and deaths of
teens. In many of these instances, the fatal drug overdose did not
come after long periods of prescription drug use. The fatal
overdoses came the first time they took the prescription drugs. Maybe it
was their individual DNA. Maybe it was the way that the drug was
metabolized. Maybe it was another substance that they had taken, like alcohol
or another prescription drug. The only thing for sure is that some
young people have overdosed and died after their first use.
18 year old died after taking 40 milligrams of Oxycontin while drinking a
beer. A 16 year old died after taking 80 milligrams of OxyContin that she
was given by a "friend." Some of the other deceased children's
parents said that they didn't believe in taking any type of drugs, but that
didn't stop their children from yielding to peer pressure and
"trying" the drug.
MOST ABUSED DRUGS
(OxyContin and its generic form oxycodone, Lortab, Vicodin, Percodan,
Percocet and the Fentanyl Patch) are the most common pharmaceuticals abused by
teens, especially by younger teens. Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) abuse is
more common among older teens and college students than younger
teens. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are abused by
teens of all ages.
OC, hillbilly heroin, oxycotton, 80s, percs, vikes, and vikings are commonly
used terms to refer to painkillers. Ritz, rippers, dexies, and bennies
are commonly used terms to refer to stimulants. Benzos, xanies,
xani-bars, xani-bombs, and roofies are commonly used terms to refer to
understands that heroin is a dangerous drug and many people die from heroin
overdoses. What parent would not be horrified if their children took
heroin? However, if your children are taking these narcotic painkillers,
they are taking drugs that mimic the effects of heroin in the body.
understands that cocaine is a dangerous drug. What parent wants their
children to use cocaine? However, many parents watch their children take
Ritalin and Adderall, two heavy stimulants that are Schedule II drugs-just like
cocaine. In 2006, it is estimated that three out of 10 high school
seniors abuse prescription stimulants.
side effects include dilated pupils, increased heart and respiratory rates,
elevated blood pressure, feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and delusions,
hostility and aggression, and panic, suicidal, or homicidal tendencies.
Overdose or death is preceded by high fever, convulsions, and heart failure
which may be hastened by physical activity.
can cause dilated pupils and slurred speech, feelings of intoxication, loss of
motor coordination, respiratory depression, sensory alteration, depression and
lowered blood pressure. In younger children these side effects are
multiplied and can lead to seizures and, if not immediately addressed, death.
antidepressants (Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro) are prescribed now for
everything from weight loss to muscle pain, they are in many medicine cabinets
and are left lying on bedside tables. As we discussed last week, there is
now evidence that these drugs are no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill)
and that they are linked to 52% of the suicides by women in Sweden in
2006. The FDA has ordered suicide and violence warnings placed on the
antidepressant boxes if these dangerous drugs are taken by teenagers because
these violent side effects are even more prevalent in younger people.
danger to teens from all of these prescription drugs is greatly increased when
they are combined with each other or with alcohol.
caring parent would leave heroin, cocaine or other dangerous street drugs on
their nightstand or in the medicine cabinet or just dump it in the
garbage. However, many parents do exactly this with legal heroin, legal
cocaine: antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
BANKRUPTCY AND POSSIBLE PRISON FOR NEGLIGENT PARENTS
our society where it seems that every bad thing must be blamed on someone else
and that someone else should pay, there is real financial and legal liability
if these dangerous drugs are taken by teens.
of us are aware that if a child obtains a loaded gun from our house and someone
is harmed, we can have both civil and criminal liability for not having
properly locked up the weapon. We have read of people being sued
and losing their homes and most of their assets because of the use of the
weapon. We have also seen people who have actually been prosecuted for
their negligence of leaving a loaded gun around and were sent to prison.
drugs are highly regulated. They can only be obtained if a doctor writes
a prescription. They carry many serious warnings. Every day there
are more stories about prescription drug abuse, the dangers of prescription
drugs and the deaths caused by prescription drugs.
your son or daughter were to give another child these prescription drugs and
they were to overdose and die, it is highly likely that a civil suit against
you for negligence will result in your having to pay damages.
is also a chance that you could face criminal prosecution for your leaving
dangerous drugs around that could lead to the death of another.
your child is an entrepreneur and does not take the prescription drugs that he
or she gets from your medicine cabinet or bedside table but instead sells them
to others. Possession of controlled substances with intent to sell is a
crime. The painkillers are mostly Schedule II drugs. Ritalin and
Adderall are Schedule II drugs. Most benzodiazepines are
Schedule IV drugs.
to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's report "Crime in the United States",
there were 143,639 juveniles arrested by state and local law enforcement
agencies for drug abuse violations during 2006, representing 10.4% of the drug
arrests in which the offender's age was reported.
your child is caught in possession of any amount of painkillers or stimulants
here are the federal guidelines:
- First Offense: Not more than 20 years. If
death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, or more than life.
Fine $1 million.
- Second Offense: Not more than 30 years. If
death or serious injury, not less than life. Fine $2 million.
If your child is caught with benzodiazepines, here are the federal
- First Offense: Not more than 3 years.
Fine not more than $250,000.
- Second Offense: Not more than
6 years. Fine not more than $500,000.
if your child is treated as a minor the guidelines can be different, but it is
still drug trafficking. By leaving prescription drugs around and by
not educating our kids about the dangers of prescription drugs, they risk not
only serious injury or death but also prison.
Linkletter hosted a television show for a number of years entitled, "Kids
Say the Darndest Things." He would tape kids responding to various
things and it was quite humorous. Well, kids still say the darndest
things but sometimes what they say is not so humorous.
example, "But Mommy you take them." Or, "But Daddy it
isn't like I am taking heroin or something." Or, "But we only
took two." Or, "But they are legal aren't they." Or,
"But a doctor wouldn't give something dangerous." Or,
"But I saw all the good things it can do on television. If it
wouldn't let it be advertised."
some parents have heard this: "I'm sorry. We couldn't save
her." Or, "The different prescription drugs he took caused him
to have a seizure and we couldn't revive him." Or, "I know that
she only took one OxyContin. I'm sorry for your loss."
help educate our children to the dangers of these prescription drugs.
Please help us keep more parents from hearing that their child could not be
of Novus Medical Detox
Center are speaking at
churches, schools, service groups and other venues to educate children and
their parents. Larry Golbom at prescriptionaddictionradio.com is
educating his listeners. But compared to the tens of billions of dollars
spent by the drug companies, making prescription drugs seem the answer to any
problems, it is going to take a real grass roots movement to make people
aware of the problem and solutions to it.
pass this article on to your friends and neighbors. The life you save may
be your child's.