Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Author: Associated Press


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. Some Web pharmacies deliver
ordered drugs without legitimate prescriptions, but other sites steal
credit card information and never fill orders, Burns said.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans who report abusing prescription drugs
say they get them from friends or family, according to the 2006
National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the largest survey on
substance abuse in the country with about 70,000 participants.
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