Pubdate: Wed, 27 Apr 2005
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2005 Independent Media Institute
Author: Maia Szalavitz, STATS
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


The Partnership for a Drug Free America released its latest survey on teen 
drug use last week, prompting the usual almost-verbatim press-release 
reporting and expressions of being "shocked, shocked" about "kids today" 
from the media.

Almost all of the coverage picked up the Partnership's label "Generation 
Rx," so named because nearly one in five of this group of adolescents 
reported having used the opioid Vicodin without a prescription. In the 
third paragraph of its story, the AP included a quote from the 
Partnership's chairman which said, "For the first time, our national study 
finds that today's teens are more likely to have abused a prescription 
painkiller to get high than they are to have experimented with a variety of 
illegal drugs."

But this is only the second time prescription drug use has been included in 
the survey -- and it was at the same level when they measured it for the 
first time, last year. The AP story (which was picked up by CNN, among many 
others) buried this information in its last two paragraphs, along with the 
fact that far more kids used marijuana than prescription drugs.

So, it's not only not the first time that prescription drug use has been 
this high, it's also not true that kids use more prescription drugs than 
marijuana. Where's the news, and where's the truth in the quote? If this is 
only the second year that prescription drug use has been measured, the fact 
that the level is higher than for cocaine and ecstasy doesn't provide much 
information about whether this is a new or ongoing phenomenon.

That's the news here -- but reporters seem to be dazed to see it.
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