Pubdate: Tue, 13 Sep 2005
Source: Tacoma Daily Index (WA)
Copyright: 2005 Tacoma Daily Index
Author: Eden Bailey
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)
Bookmark: (Youth)
Note: Eden Bailey is the Coordinator of San Juan County Health & Community 


According to the 17th Annual Study on Teen Drug Abuse, one in five 
teenagers has abused a prescription painkiller. That figure, "one in five," 
doesn't have much meaning alone.

But it sure does when you consider that it means more teenagers have abused 
a prescription painkiller than have experimented with Ecstasy, cocaine, 
crack, or LSD. That pretty much means that for most teens who use a 
substance, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription painkillers, like 
Vicodin  and OxyContin , are their "drugs of choice." Which is why Roy 
Bostock, Chairman of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, calls today's 
youth Generation Rx.

And to further emphasize that description, the Center for Substance Abuse 
Research at the University of Maryland, College Park released a study in 
July 2005 (DEWS Investigates) which states:

"Adderall , a prescription stimulant used to treat ADD is considered to be 
the most misused prescription drug on college campuses.

That report quotes one student as saying, 'Almost any student I talk [to] 
has used or is using Adderall  to help them study.' Another student 
referred to Adderall  as the 'new caffeine.' Misused prescription 
medications are not the only drugs abused by teens.

For the first time, the Annual Study on Teen Drug Abuse looked at misuse of 
over-the-counter drugs and found that 2.2 million teens have experimented 
with cough syrup or similar products in order to get high."

Should we be concerned?

After all, these drugs are either prescribed by a physician, or in the case 
of over-the-counter medication, recommended by a pharmacist. They are 
approved by the FDA. So what's the problem?

Well, aside from the fact that it is rather unsettling to think that 11 
million teens are abusing Vicodin , Oxycontin , Ritalin , Adderall  or 
cough medicine, all of these medications have side effects.

And unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of teens who abuse prescription 
drugs to get high consider them "much safer" than street drugs.

Is that perception true? Are prescription drugs "much" safer than street 
drugs? I went to, a prescription drug information website for 
consumers and professionals to check out Vicodin . I learned that 
Vicodin  is a trade name for hydrocodone plus acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is 
addictive both physically and psychologically. Withdrawal symptoms will 
occur if the medication is stopped suddenly after several weeks of 
continuous use. Alcohol should not be taken with Vicodin  because it can 
increase drowsiness, resulting in possible loss of consciousness or death. 
Liver damage can also occur when using Vicodin  with alcohol.

Mixing Vicodin  with other drugs will only increase the effects of those 
other drugs. According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services 
Administration, 43 percent of people who ended up in hospital emergency 
rooms from drug overdoses in 2000 were there because of misusing 
prescription drugs.

There is a reason why your doctor went to four years of undergraduate 
school, four years of medical school, and then anywhere from one to four 
years of a residency program.

That training helps him/her take into consideration your overall health 
when prescribing drugs.

However, it is a consumer's responsibility to weigh the pros and cons of 
any prescription before making the choice to use it. But according to the 
current research, many teens are completely unaware of the risks and side 
effects of misusing prescription drugs to get high. And some of them don't 
find out until they wake up in an emergency room.

If you would like more information about prescription drug misuse you can 
go to: 
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