According to The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, prescription drug abuse among American teens is reaching troubling levels, reports the BBC News.
A recent survey by The Partnership revealed that one in five US teens admit to experimenting with legal medication, including prescription painkiller abuse and over the counter medications, at least once in their lifetime—a very “troubling trend”.
Experts in the States are also witnessing an increase in the number of young persons admitted to the hospital for a drug overdose.
All this prescription drug abuse and its associated behaviors indicate that these teens are self-medicating, as well as looking for a high. Teens illegally obtaining prescription medications tend to be very tactical, according to experts, strategic even.
Furthermore, teens are experimenting with a wide variety of drugs, not simply painkillers, as most would believe. Sedatives, stimulants, psychoactive, and anti-depressants are all among abused drugs.
As such, “pharma parties” have emerged as a new trend, where the price of admission to the evening is a handful of pills. Once the party has begun, all pills are combined in a large bowl and passed around. Pills are popped at random and party-goers sit back and wait for the effects, whatever they may be.
The BBC interviewed a teen from New York about his experiences with prescription drug abuse. Henry Walk dale, 16, is currently enrolled in an addiction treatment program at a drug rehab center.
He recounts how it was easier to find prescription drugs than other illegal drugs, as fake prescriptions are easy to come by and by “people that literally sell them out of the back of hospitals if you know the right neighborhood to go to,” he says.
Later, his addiction worsened when he was hospitalized for a leg injury. While there he was given painkillers, and later discharged with a prescription. From that point on the “started eating them like candy.”
Listen to Henry’s story in his own words.
Henry was lucky. He was able to get help, admitted to a drug addiction treatment program before he died. Others, unfortunately, are not as lucky as him.
The US’ Drug Enforcement Agency is now trying to engage parents in the matter. “We’ve asked people to talk to their kids,” the DEA’s Gerard McAleer told the BBC, “look in the medicine cabinet, take an inventory, secure the medicines you need to keep and dispose of those that have just been sitting there.”