Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2007 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Marijuana and Driving)


Former Vice President's Son Charged

Abuse of Prescription Drugs Has Risen Among 18- to 25-Year-Olds

CHICAGO -- Drug abuse experts say the arrest of Al Gore's son
underscores the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among
America's youth. College students use the stimulant Adderall, an
attention deficit drug, to get a speedy high or pull

The other drugs police say they found in Al Gore III's possession --
marijuana, Xanax, Valium and Vicodin -- also are campus favorites,
experts say. "Al Gore's son is just like everyone else's," said Dr.
Donald Misch, director of health services at Northwestern University
in Evanston. "The only thing missing was the No. 1 abused drug, which
is alcohol." Students commonly pair pills with beer and cigarettes,
experts say. They trade tips about the effects of prescription drugs
on networking sites like Facebook and trade pills they've stolen from
home medicine cabinets, ordered on the Internet or taken from friends
with legitimate prescriptions. Prescription drug abuse among 18- to
25-year-olds rose 17 percent from 2002 to 2005, according to the White
House drug policy office. In 2004 and again in 2005, there were more
new abusers of prescription drugs than new users of any illicit drug.

Young people mistakenly believe prescription drugs are safer than
street drugs, doctors say. But accidental prescription drug deaths are
rising and students who abuse pills are more likely to drive fast,
binge-drink and engage in other dangerous behaviors.

The White House plans a national advertising campaign aimed at getting
parents to clean out their medicine cabinets and lock up any
prescription drugs they need, said deputy drug czar Scott Burns.

"We found in focus groups of young people across the country that in
large measure they're getting the drugs from their own medicine
cabinets and the Internet," Burns said.

Al Gore III, 24, was driving about 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway
when he was pulled over Wednesday, police said. He was charged with
illegally possessing marijuana and prescription drugs. While a student
at Harvard University, he was charged in 2003 with marijuana
possession. Former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday that his son
is getting treatment. Advice From Federal Agencies   Remove unused,
unneeded or expired prescription drugs from original containers.

   Mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, like coffee
grounds or cat litter, and put them in containers such as empty cans
or sealable bags.   Throw containers in trash.

   Don't flush prescription drugs down the toilet.   Return drugs to
pharmaceutical take-back sites that allow consumers to return unused
drugs for safe disposal.

SOURCES: White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,
Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency. 
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