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Teens Easily, Illegally Access Prescription Drugs

Armen Hareyan's picture
Teens and prescription abuse

Teens report it's easier for them to access prescription drugs than beer, a fact that urges parents to be more attentive. Thirty four percent of teenagers abuse prescription drugs and harm their health without realizing it.

A team of researchers from National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University surveyed 1002 teens aged from 12 to 17 and 312 parents. The survey asked: "Which is easiest for someone your age to buy: cigarettes, beer, marijuana, or prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin or Ritalin, without a prescription?".

Nineteen percent of questioned teenagers reported that it's easier to buy prescription drugs than cigarettes, beer, marijuana. This is a significant increase compared to 13% teens reporting the same a year ago. Twenty five percent of teens reported it's easier to buy marijuana, 43% of those aged 17 reported that they can get drugs only in a one hour period of time.

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Unfortunately, the survey also found that the majority of parents are not really aware what their teens are doing and where they are spending their leisure time: 46% of teenagers reported they spend a lot of time with their friends enjoying nightlife, smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs, while only 14% of surveyed parents actually knew their teens are conducting such a lifestyle.

This urges the need for parents to be more attentive to their kids, spend more time with them and do more efforts t stop drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

Stephen Pasierb, the president of Partnership for a Drug-Free America said: "This is a very different generation of children. Prescription drugs are entrenched, and they have not moved for five years, and this generation of parents simply do not understand the problem."

This survey comes right at the time when teen drug abuse declines. Teenagers now can get strong prescription drugs illegally and enjoy the same effect of drugs like marijuana. Researchers suggest that probably teens think that prescription drugs are safer than alcohol and drugs, but it's not true: their developing brains can suffer much if exposed to huge amount of strong drugs developed for older adults.