Drug czar: We are our kid's drug dealers
Every parent knows to keep harmful substances locked up and out of baby's reach. It seems our teenagers need the same protection.
According to a new report released by White House drug czar John Walters, the most common illegal drugs teens are using to get high (next to marijuana) are prescription medications. For the first time, there are just as many abusers ages 12 and over of prescription drugs as there are for marijuana. What's more, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds.
Where are they getting these drugs? According to the study, nearly half of teens who use prescription drugs say they get them free from a relative or friend. The majority of these teens agreed that prescription drugs are easier to get than illegal drugs and three in five say they get them from their parents' medicine cabinets.
Analysis of national surveys prepared by Walter's office showed that 1.2 million teenagers abused prescription drugs in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available. The most commonly abused prescription drugs among teens are pain relievers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.
"The drug dealer is us," Walters said, adding that adults need to keep track of prescription drugs and dispose of them properly when the drugs expire.
"People just aren't aware that they need to be careful, and so they leave prescriptions in the medicine cabinet and they don't think anything about it," he said.
Lock up your medicine cabinets and talk to your kids!