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Monday, November 7, 2011

Where Teens Acquire Rx Drugs

Teen users often get prescription pills like Xanax 
from their parents’ medicine cabinets. 
Once they’ve built up a tolerance to the pills,
they switch to heroin to achieve a more potent high. 
Research from the Center for Disease Control 
indicates that 60 percent of prescription drug addicts 
begin using pills before the age of 15. 

"To put it bluntly, today’s young
Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin users
are becoming tomorrow’s heroin junkies,"
said New Jersey State Commission of Investigation
Chair Patrick Hobbs. 

(Megan DeMarco, "Experts Say Prescription Pill Abuse Leads N.J. Teenagers 
to Heroin Addiction, New Jersey Real-Time News, June 15 2011) 

Where Do Teenagers Get Prescription Drugs?

1. Friends and Relatives

* Sixty-four percent of youth ages 12 to 17 who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, often without the other person’s knowledge. (SAMHSA, 2008) And in one survey, 54 percent of high school seniors said that opioid drugs other than heroin (e.g., Vicodin) would be fairly or very easy to get. (Johnston, LD, O'Malley, PM, Bachman, JG, & Schulenberg, JE.; Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use: Overview of Key Findings 2010; 2011).

2. The Medicine Cabinet at Home

* More than 60 percent of teenagers say prescription pain relievers are easy to get from the medicine cabinet at home. (Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 2006).

3. Other People's Prescriptions

* Half of teens say they are easy to get through other people's prescriptions. (Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 2006).

4. Online or By Phone

*Almost forty percent of youth ages 14 to 20 say it is easy to get prescription drugs online or by phone. Of that total, more girls than boys said it was easy -- 48% vs. 31%. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2007).

While research indicates that less than one percent 
of teens acquire prescription drugs from the Internet, 
adolescents do visit manufacturer and pro-drug Web sites 
to obtain dosage information, 
identify pills, 
learn about drug interactions and effects, 
and find out how to pass drug tests. 

Teens also engage in online chat rooms and read blogs 
to hear about others’ experiences using prescription drugs illicitly. 
This online drug culture, researchers believe, 
may contribute to the misconception 
that most teenagers abuse prescription drugs and/or 
that prescription drug abuse is relatively risk-free.

(Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America, 2008)
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