Where does teen prescription drug abuse start? Parents’ Med cabinet

The Los Angeles Times reports on the growing problem of teen prescription drug abuse in today’s editions. Although the problem has been tied by some to the rise of Internet pharmacies, research shows that fewer than five percent of teen prescription drug abusers buy drugs from strangers (a category that includes online pharmacies). Most young abusers start in their parents’ medicine cabinet.

An excerpt from the story:

Among teens and young adults 12 to 25, one-third of those who use illicit drugs say they recently have abused prescription drugs — including painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants. Among kids 12 to 17, 3.3% had abused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the last month. Among 17- to 25-year-olds, 6% had abused prescription drugs in the last month…

Studies suggest that for the current generation, as for past drug users, efforts to thwart distribution of some drugs shift thrill-seekers to others that are easier to score — a dynamic that helps explain the move toward prescription drugs…

More than half who reported they had recently taken prescription drugs for nonmedical uses said they got the drugs from a friend or relative for free, and almost 20% got them from a physician. About 1 in 10 who took prescription pain relievers said they bought or stole them from a friend or relative.

Drug enforcement officials have long noted that teens and young adults widely trade, sell and steal stimulant medications, heavily prescribed among student populations to treat symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fewer than 5% told interviewers that they had had to resort to a drug-dealing stranger to acquire prescription drugs, or even to log onto an Internet site selling prescription drugs.

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Comments (3)

In today’s age where everyone is looking for a quick fix, more and more people have controlled substances in their medicine cabinet. When we pop pills for every ache and pain, how can we expect anything different from our kids. Our prescriptions may be legal and we may take them as prescribed but our children only see that we take them. They enter their teen years and experience life’s growing pains and Tylenol doesn’t cut it anymore. I attended a funeral where the family was passing out Xanax to anyone who was crying to “help them handle their grief”. We as a society need to experience our grief not mask it. Only then can we move on to something bigger and better.

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