Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2007 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: Carla K. Johnson
Bookmark: (Youth)


Gore Arrest: More Taking Rx Drugs, Sometimes From Medicine Chest

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 all-nighters.

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.

Al Gore III, 24, was driving about 100 mph on the San Diego Freeway 
when he was pulled over Wednesday. He was arrested for illegally 
possessing marijuana and prescription drugs.

While a student at Harvard University, he was arrested in 2003 for 
marijuana possession.

Former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday his son is getting treatment.


How To Get Rid Of Them

Federal agencies issued guidelines earlier this year for disposing of 

Remove unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs from original containers.

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

Throw containers in the trash.

Don't flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless the 
accompanying patient information says specifically it is safe to do so.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman