Archive for Friday, July 6, 2007

Prescription drug abuse common in college, experts say

July 6, 2007


— Drug abuse experts say the arrest of Al Gore's son underscores the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among America's youths. 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 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.

According to another survey, the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are 14.6 million current marijuana users and 6.4 million prescription drug abusers, with most prescription drug abusers using painkillers such as Vicodin.

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.

"We're very happy that he's sought and is getting the treatment that he needs," Gore said on CNN's "Larry King Live" Thursday. "And beyond that, we appreciate the good wishes that have come our way."


Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

Most Americans are junkies. Whether they are lawfully prescribed or not. Almost all Americans are on some pill or another to take care of their little problems.

Notice that all the drugs seized were downers. Perhaps it's because college is stressful and you got to be there for 3 years before your allowed to drink?

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

The problem is that parents can easily get their brats diagnosed with ADD. Most of these kids just need some strict parenting, but it would be too difficult to expect parents to take responsibility. You sit your kids in front of the TV or stick a video controller in their hands. What do you expect?

Ragingbear 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, there is that new therapy. You know, it's called "Sit down and study before I pop you in the mouth."

I have only met 2 kids in my life that actually needed treatment for ADD. There was no doubt about it, they acted like the love child of Robin Williams and Jim Carey on cocaine. The rest were acting like kids.

What really aggravates me is when they diagnose a kid with ADD because they are hyper, jittery and don't want to go to sleep at night. Well, if you look at what the parents are giving the kid, then you will notice that any 8 year old will show symptoms of ADD if you let them drink energy drinks and sugary sodas. Sugar is like caffeine to a kid. It just transforms into raw energy. No wonder they are having trouble focusing.

The rest is psychological. We live in a multitasking environment where we require constant stimulation. That is why people flip through channels during commercials. Try using some constraint and teaching your kids such.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 5 months ago

ragingbear oh my love child bit just made me laugh think of what that child would be like oh thankyou.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 5 months ago

Ok now they tried to get me and my husband to put one of our kids on meds, they being the schools, and we said no he does not need meds not at all I have seen plenty of children on those meds in my days and no way would I have le my kid beon those. But gain I am agreeing with ragingbear that I have only met a couple of children that needed some form of medication, the rest no way should have even been given add meds they where just being kids. Now college kids using rx well look at how doc. overmedicate for every thing these days, is it easy to get just about anything from your doc. if you tell them the right thing so it does not surprise me at all.

erod0723 10 years, 5 months ago

'"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."' Alcohol isn't a drug, it's liquid sunshine.

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