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Teens: Prescription Drugs Easier To Get Than Beer

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, August 14, 2008 11:59 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Prescription Drug Abuse, Prescription Drug Injury, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Dangerous Drugs, Teens, Drug Overdose

Teens say prescription drugs can be had in less than one hour.



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockphoto/ pencil case & drugs/ author: TACrafts


Kids assume drugs are safe. After all, they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and they are in their parents’ medicine chests.

But a new report blames parents as “passive pushers” of drugs by not only having them around but by not enforcing rules at home.

Teenagers say it’s easier to get prescription drugs than beer, according to the 13th annual survey on attitudes about drug abuse, published by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. 

More than 1,000 teens were surveyed along with 312 parents. The margin of error is 3.1 percent.

One year ago, 13 percent said it was easier to obtain prescription drugs than cigarettes, beer or marijuana.  Today that number is up to 19 percent and 43 percent report they can get their hands on drugs in less than one hour.

Problem parents are to blame, according to the centers chairman and president, Joseph Califano.

Parents become “passive pushers” when they don’t know where their teenage children are, even on a school night.  The study finds half of teens say they are out on a school night while 14 percent of parents said their children were out on a school night. 

The survey finds half of teens allowed out after 10 p.m. smoked and used drugs.  29 percent of kids who had to return home before 10 p.m. report that behavior.  Teens who eat family dinners five times or more a week, had the lowest percent of drug use.

And parents are the ones keeping prescriptions such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet and Ritalin available at home.

"Fifty years ago, people would lock up the liquor," Califano told the Washington Post in a telephone interview. "Maybe there should be a lock on the medicine cabinet now."

Kids and their parents may assume prescription medications are safer than beer but they’re not.

Drugs such as Vicodin — a commonly prescribed pain pill that causes a drunk-like feeling — can be detrimental to the still-developing teenage brain and can impair judgment in people who already are prone to mistakes in judgment causing accidents, sexual activity and the use of more drugs,  according to Ralph Lopez, a New York pediatrician, with Weill Medical College, who specializes in teens, speaking  to USA Today. 

While illegal drug abuse is on a decline, prescription medication abuse is on the rise.

A “pill for what ails you” from headaches to heartache and an underestimation of prescription drugs’ potency has led to a dramatic rise in lethal drug overdosing since the early 1990s.

The CDC reports that from 1999 to 2004, unintentional poisoning death from prescription drugs sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers grew 84 percent  to 20,950 deaths, overtaking cocaine and heroin combined as the leading cause of lethal overdose.

Potent narcotic painkiller OxyContin was among the 15 drugs most often linked to death. Others include insulin, Vioxx, Remicade, and Paxil.  Vioxx was removed from the market in 2004.

Heath Ledger's death on Jan. 22 was due to an accidental mixture of prescription drugs,. The autopsy report on Ledger is now public record and counts six prescription drugs as the cause of his death  including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Diazepam, Temazepam, Alprazolam, and Doxylamine.

 “With parents, don’t ever say not my kid. You must stay vigilant,” says televisions Dr. Drew Pinsky during a news conference in May on teens who self-medicate by using marijuana.  #


Anonymous User
Posted by Lynn
Thursday, August 14, 2008 2:26 PM EST

Dont forget about the doctors who illegally prescribe too many pain pills on a daily basis.
My son who is 2+ years clean from an oxy addiction did not get these drugs from my house. These drugs are all over the streets of Florida, our state is now known as the "Pill Mill" state!! We must pass a prescription drug database to help prevent the over prescribing. These drugs are responsible for our modern day plague that is killing people ever day.

Posted by Marianne Skolek
Thursday, August 14, 2008 4:04 PM EST

I have been actively exposing Purdue Pharma (a $10 billion criminally convicted pharmaceutical company) and its 3 CEO's Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim for criminally marketing OxyContin. I have worked on this for 6 years. In July 2007, they were charged in Federal Court with marketing OxyContin to patients and physicians as less likely to be addictive or abused. They pled guilty and were sentenced. I testified against them in Federal Court and in front of the US Senate. Their actions have resulted in an epidemic of OxyContin addiction and death in every state in the country. My work now focuses on further action being taken against them and J. David Haddox, the gatekeeper of Purdue Pharma's involvement in the criminal marketing of OxyContin. I am working with government agencies and the FDA to accomplish this next goal. Marianne Skolek

Marianne Skolek
Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
I testified against Purdue Pharma before the U.S. Senate

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