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“Pharming” Parties: the New Landscape of Teen Drug Abuse

Date: October 6, 2006

Source: Family News in Focus

Author: Steve Jordahl

Alarm bells go off in the adult mind when they think of pulling out a handful of unknown pills and popping them in their mouth. Teens often lack that alarm, so pharming, to the teen, is simply another thrill ride. College student Laura Cowen hears about it from some of her friends.

“‘I wonder what these two pills will do together? Let’s find out,’ and there’s no concept that, gee, this could kill me, or this could hurt me. There’s no thought to the consequences, only to the immediate reaction, the immediate thrill.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Benzio says teens are raiding their parents’ medicine cabinets, or buying the medications on the street on their way to a party.

“Their taking them to parties and they’re passing them around, sometimes putting them in a bowl and you pick out two or three based on color, based on size, based on dares.”

In addition to the obvious risk of death by overdose, there are other dangers the average teen would never think of.

“ Now if a kid has a certain medical problem and he takes a pill, it might worsen or exacerbate that medical problem. Then you run into that kind of risk.”

Cowen says some pills are very small and prescription drug abuse is hard to detect.

“There’s no jittery signs, there’s no bloodshot eyes. So, while the teacher’s are looking for Altoid boxes and baggies, the kid’s sitting there with a pen in his pocket.”

The kids she talks to have no problem hiding this kind of drug abuse from their parents.

“They’re still thinking that their kids are carrying little plastic baggies with green grass in it and they have no idea that their kid has all these other things.”

Things they can get right from your own medicine cabinet.