From USA Today, some interesting and sad news:
When a teenager in Jan Sigerson’s office mentioned a “pharm party” in February, Sigerson thought the youth was talking about a keg party out on a farm.
“Pharm,” it turned out, was short for pharmaceuticals, such as the powerful painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin. Sigerson, program director for Journeys, a teen drug treatment program in Omaha, soon learned that area youths were organizing parties to down fistfuls of prescription drugs.
I am now officially old. I thought I’d never say, “I remember when…”
Well, I remember when drinking PBR as a teenager was living on the edge – and I’m not talking about the plasmid.
In recent months, federal anti-drug officials have acknowledged that they didn’t anticipate the quick escalation of prescription-drug abuse. Most government-sponsored drug prevention programs focus on marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and methamphetamine.
“We were taken by surprise when we started to see a high instance of abuse of prescription drugs,” says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is collecting information about how teens perceive, get and use prescription drugs so it can try to craft an effective prevention campaign.
In a bulletin last year, NIDA called the increase in pharmaceutical drug abuse among teens “disturbing” and said pharm parties were a “troubling trend.”
The increasing availability of prescription drugs is a big reason for the rise in their abuse, Volkow and other drug specialists say.
Pharmaceutical companies’ production of two often-abused prescription drugs — hydrocodone and oxycodone, the active ingredients in drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin — has risen dramatically as the drugs’ popularity for legitimate uses has increased. Drug companies made 29 million doses of oxycodone in 2004, up from 15 million four years earlier. Hydrocodone doses rose from 14 million in 2000 to 24 million in 2004.
The 2005 Partnership survey found that more than three in five teens can easily get prescription painkillers from their parents’ medicine cabinets. And as Falkowski says, the rising number of youths being treated with stimulants has made it easier for kids to use such drugs illicitly. About 3% of children are treated with a stimulant such as Adderall or Ritalin, up from less than 1% in 1987.
Again, the full article by Donna Leinwand is here.