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Do you think prescription drug abuse is a problem in public junior high and high schools?

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Photo of Shaju Ahmed

“It could be. Sometimes they are prescribed drugs like Tylenol 3 with codeine or others that they can sell or give away at school. I think if they are prescribed drugs and they are under 18, their parents need to keep track of them.”

Photo of Megan Weatherly

“Yeah. I think drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are overprescribed. I think it would help if the regulations on refills were more strict.”

Photo of Cherry Mastro

“I would be really shocked if it was a problem. It just seems like junior high and high school is awfully young for a student to have a problem with them.”

Photo of Mitchell Near

“No. I haven’t heard too much about it. Of course I don’t have any kids either.”


kansas_prairieland 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes, great scenery.....kinda like the Kansas Prairieland! :)

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

did they ever shoot his ashes out of a cannon, like planned?

thunderbuns 12 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

kansas_prairieland 12 years, 2 months ago

Gee, with a response like hers.....could Cherry Mastro (pictured above) have her head buried any deeper in the sand??!!

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know, I haven't been in a junior high or high school in seven years.

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago


Not quite sure what you are talking about. I might have a beer occasionally. When I grew up, my childhood toys were put away.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

Geez, when I was in HIGH SCHOOL, we all knew the two boys who smoked MARIJUANA, and they were complete outcasts!!! Shame on them!

My how the world has changed.

We also now have power cords to our typewriters too!

Nice booty to you all!

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

All types of kids use drugs. And sometimes it doesn't matter what the parent does or doesn't do, drugs can still happen. I don't think it is necessarily a reflection on the parents. There is no magic fix.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

savethedaffy - great comments. I would like to believe you are in the majority, instead of the minority.
Good example for all

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

thanks harley. sorry to you for my misunderstanding. Just trying to understand what gets kids as young as jr hi started on drugs, prescription or not, and if the parents get blamed ALL the time for things that are out of their control.

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

Spent an interesting afternoon drinking beer with Hunter at the old Bogarts. Fascinating time. I knew what I was on and kept trying to figure out what he was on....

blessed3x 12 years, 2 months ago

Do you need a prescription to order drugs from Canada? I've always wondered that. If not, that is sure an easy way for some of these kids to kid the meds they "need".

badger 12 years, 2 months ago



Ah, Hunter S, how we miss you.

Can we mention the 'princess of evolution'? She has a Mutagenic Wand and a Magical Crown of Adaptation!

cutny 12 years, 2 months ago

Considering that prescription pills are abused by plenty of adults, why wouldn't the be abused by teenagers?

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

Gootsie, I know what you mean!! Those same two kids were outcasts at LHS Those who wanted to be really wild tried to get their hands on 5% beer instead of the watered down 3.2!!

omb: we should all meet for happy hour half way between Lawrence and Houston, except I think that might be smack in the middle of the Red River:) I'll be heading for the Rio Grande for Spring Break but we'll be staying over in Austin -- sorry, wrong direction :(

DaREEKKU 12 years, 2 months ago

hahahha, if only I had access to prescription drugs when I was in high school it might have gone a lot easier. Being young isn't easy in this country anymore (but of course it never was). In a culture of hate, growing up in middle america it really sucks...especially being different from everybody around you and then being persecuted by everybody including family members. Think about this the next time your kids walk in the door and just let them know NO MATTER what, or who they are etc that you support them and keep an open mind....maybe then we wouldn't need pills just to manage to get through the days.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

Some behavioral type problems can not be resolved with out drugs. It depends on the seriousness of the issue. You can't blame the parents or tv for the child's behavioral issues. And in the cases where drugs help, I think the majority of the parents and patients are thankful for the help.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation - please do not comment on situations on which you obviously have no clue.

This town is not full of rich kids on drugs. Prescribed or otherwise, kids on drugs come from all backgrounds. Most parents who get their children prescription drugs for depression are trying whatever it takes to get their kids better.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Cea, the server has been really slow. (I even cleaned all my cookies yesterday.) Wish us good fortune today. I'm outta here. Manana!

badger 12 years, 2 months ago


I am simply trying my very hardest to be a valuable asset to your piratical organization. You see, of course, that your job offer earlier this week has already begun to pay off in valuable ideas and suggestions!

I'm very proactive in 'thinking outside the gangplank.'

Pardon me; I'm going to go try to make up some piratical buzzwords for any meetings I might have to attend.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 2 months ago

I had 2 die friends the year after graduation to an overdose of painkillers. I saw another couple drop out of KU because they became so addicted to Adderall (among other problems.)

This is definately a huge problem among high school/college age people, especially those in the fraternities. Adderall use in the frats is extremely rampant, and I even had a guy I knew from high school pretend to have ADHD just so he could get a prescription for Adderall and sell it to his frat brothers.

I don't know much that can be done about it aside from not being stupid and thinking it's a good idea to take a couple of oxycotin and then throw back a bunch of beer.

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago


I believe it was '80--details of the portion of my life are a little fuzzy. At any event, I remember that there was a KU prof there that I had had a beef with in class. He came over and started to fawn all over Hunter. He and I then proceeded to continue our discussion. Hunter looked at him and said "You're a jacka$$". I laughed so hard, I almost spilled my beer.

ms_canada 12 years, 2 months ago

I have already responded to the question so would I be allowed an off topic comment? Please. About the Academy Awards. Are you going to watch it and do you think Brokeback Mountain will win and have you seen this film yet? If not and if you will see it, take note of the scenery as this movie was filmed in my lovely Alberta down south near Calgary, which we call Cow Town because of the Calgary Stampede and all the Horsey and cow stuff that goes on down there. Calgary is fast becoming Hollywood North.
Also to answer the question from blessedx3, you most certainly need a prescription to order drugs from Canada if it is a prescription drug. When I visit my sister in Calif. she gets me to bring her some Tylenol with codeine which I can get w/out presc. but must ask the pharmacist. It is behind the counter. But it has a very low dose of codeine.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

Posted by derf (anonymous) on March 3, 2006 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Doctors and Pharmacists have become pimps for the huge prescription drug cartels, er corporations, and are being used to promote the wide spread use of, and subsequent abuse of drugs which do not ultimately help, but do harm.

Posted by derf (anonymous) on March 3, 2006 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Religion is for those who are afraid of going to Hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.

"those who have already been there" Oh, pleeeeesssseeee.

Are you, like, starting your own cult, or what?

Dixie Jones 12 years, 2 months ago

cherry needs to wake up we have kids in grade school selling it at school and , megan um they do control the presc thats why my son who is autistic,mr,dd,adhd can not get his refilled until the day the first prescrip ran out , its the parents who let the kids take it unsupervised that are the fault here....

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation: So are you saying, then, that it is NEVER okay to medicate a child save in cases of trauma or the like? I think that's a pretty strong claim to make, and would guess that it comes more than anything from a simple lack of experience. Although I agree that there are cases, perhaps even a majority of them, where a child's behavioral problems are the result of upbringing flaws, I can think of many as well, anecdotally (sp?), that the parents were trying hard, doing things right, and the kid still had problems, be they chemical in origin or what. Sometimes, those were mediated or fixed to some extent by medication.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

derf: Get a grip!!! My doctor is not a pimp! All prescription drugs do not do harm! Those statements are just not true!

Furthermore, I am a Christian with no absence of a spiritual source. When most people take medication it is short term, treating a specific problem, and discontinued when the medical problem is resolved. If you never have to see a doctor or take a prescription then you are truly blessed. Why must you bash the doctors, pharmacists and your fellow human beings who are not so lucky?

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

ms_canada: We have many of the same restrictions. Abusers know just what to say and do to get their drug(s) of choice. It often takes a while for medical staff to be aware of the patient's deceptiveness. Although I think a lot of drs and nurses are now monitoring things more closely. I agree with previous posters that lack of parental supervision plays a major role in this type of drug problem.

Lee Eldridge 12 years, 2 months ago

When I was in high school 25 years ago, plenty of students would have tried any drug available, prescription or otherwise. I can't imagine kids are much different today.

scarlets_talk 12 years, 2 months ago

I graduated from high school last year, and I know (of) several kids who either abused prescription drugs or distributed them. I've also heard stories of people taking Adderol before standardized tests in order to focus better. In college, I know a few students who pop ADD medicine before sitting down to write a paper.

I don't think prescription drugs are nearly as widely used as marijuana, but I imagine they're quite a big more harmful than pot.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

Kids need discipline, not medication. Parents are slacking off on their duties and calling on the docs for a quick fix. Parents who give their kids ritalin and other similar drugs should have their children given to someone who is more mature and can teach these kids respect. Video games, violent tv, spoiling the kids, and idiot parents all lead to behavioral problems. I completely understand the need for meds if the child has a true disability, such as autism.

neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

I thought this was more of a nationwide culture problem, not just high school. We prescribe for everything. Prozac is not good without treatment, just as painkillers are no good without therapy. Our nation has a problem with patience. We don't like to wait for results, we want our care like fast food - five minutes or less.

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

i'm with you, enochville...cherry&mitchell both worry me!

drugs etc are a HUGE issue with schools. and it's only getting deeper. parents have GOT to take the blinders off, quit being so damn self-centered and facade oriented, and WAKE UP to what is going on in kids' worlds today.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

I've not heard personally of anything but I have a kiddo going into 7th next year. I've already had to "discourage" a friendship because the girl was not a good influence on my child. (She was just VERY bossy and said things that were not nice.) What to do? sigh I still hope that open communication will see us all through.

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

"Just trying to understand what gets kids as young as jr hi started on drugs, prescription or not, and if the parents get blamed ALL the time for things that are out of their control."

Well, so far we've seen parents, school adminstrators, drug companies and their marketing, and doctors being blamed. I didn't see peer pressure, but I might have just missed it. I think any or all could be to blame, case by case. I think the real problem is that in today's society, there is so much going on at any one time that noone can concentrate on a single issue unless it directly hits home. The information we all have access to today creates an information overload that doesn't allow us to completely process all of the information, and give our concentration, to a single issue. As a result, we as a society have a shotgun approach to our (society's) ills that doesn't manage to completely address or resolve any single issue.

I'll now jump off of my soapbox.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know that a lot of jr and sr high students are dependent on legally prescribed drugs, but I would bet that a good number of them have used a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them.

I think Shaju Ahmed made some very sound points in answering the question. I also want to thank him for serving our country!

What is with LJW's server? Yesterday, and again today, it is so bloody slow!!!

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know, Confrontation, I think that approach, that all drugs are bad and every behavioural problem could be solved without the use of medication, is just as counterproductive as the notion that every problem has a pill solution.

Some kids need medication and are helped when they get it. Some kids get medication they don't need. Some kids need medication they don't get.

I think we're overmedicated as a society, but I think the answer is better standards for how and why medication is prescribed to both adults and children, not the reactionary stance that 'drugs are bad, mmmmmkay?'

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

Mom_of_Three: "You can't blame the parents or tv for the child's behavioral issues."

That's the biggest load of bull posted on here today!!! Other than those children who have severe and persistent mental disorders, the parents are often to blame for behavioral issues. Parents let their kids get anything they want and do anything they want, and they the parents wonder why their kids run around acting like idiots. In order to fix their mistakes and instead of disciplining the brats, parents shove pills down their throats. I can see the need for medication after trauma, such as a death or rape. Parents just want to take the easy way out when their kids are annoying or feeling sad.

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

wonder I'm sorry I misunderstood your post. I read fuzzy and 80's, but evidently you didn't mean it was fuzzy because of drugs. oops

Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

What do you propose we do about the parents that are forced to give these ADD or ADHD drugs to their kids?

Bad behavior in school often results in recommendations that the parents take the kid in for psychological evaluation. Maybe to more than one doctor. And when the kid gets diagnosed as ADD (even though another doctor may say they're not), they say they need medication.

If the parents balk at this at all, thinking there may be some other problem involved, or another way to treat the problem, SRS has been known to step in and threaten to take a child away if the parent doesn't get them the prescribed drug as recommended. So, rather than risk having their kid put into foster care, the parents give in and give them the medicine.

I've known people it happened to.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger--how about

Shivver me timbers Aye matie Nice booty

Things like that?

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

ms_canada, in our country, the refills are also included on the bottle, and, depending on the medication, when the prescription runs out, the patient must visit the doctor to receive refills. But some doctors do call in prescriptions for patients to the pharmacist. Mine doesn't.
But that doesn't have anything to do with students who steal drugs from their families or who buy them from others. There are doctors who overprescribe, and some patients who let them and then sell the drugs. (see previous comment re Haysville). It's those types you need to be aware of.

outoftowner 12 years, 2 months ago

wonder and harley ~ did you guys' drug problem begin in jr hi or high school? Do you blame your parents for it?

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger: Wow! Thanks. You've given me loads of new ideas! Since I ran out of pot I've been looking for a replacement to counter the pain of existence, and though I am, of course, a meth-Pirate, I don't actually follow the strictures of the organization in my own personal time, cuz I don't care for uppers. It's hypocricy, of course, but I just consider myself a closet republican in that regards.

For tonight: muscle relaxer, hydrocodone, half of a bottle of robitussin, and I think I'll watch My Neighbor Totoro. That or the sci-fi channel's Dune movie.

Oh yeah, the question. As a problem, it probably rates somewhere between the weight-loss/gain practices of student wrestlers and the consumption of hashish by the theater kids.

. . . whatever that means.

savethedaffy 12 years, 2 months ago

I take a perscription drug. I attend a high school. I do not sell my medication, nor abuse the perscription. I do not give it away like a favor at a party. I went through extensive testing before receving this drug. In order to get refills, I must visit my doctor at least once a month. She must WRITE a script, not call it in over the phone. It must have her signature. Yeah, sure, being a high school student I know that plenty of kids abuse perscription drugs, I know that pleny of kids also sell them, give them away, etc. Drugs are obviously an issue in high school, however, people quickly cast out the students who actually use the perscription for their personal needs and not to gain acceptance from peers, or score some cash. Contrary to many parents' beliefs, there are high school students, like myself, that use the perscription drug for what it is intended to be used for and allow only themself (the name on the perscription bottle) to use it.

ms_canada 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know the answer to this question being far removed from any school kids, but if there is a problem with prescriiption drugs and kids, then there is something drastically wrong with the medical profession and the pharmaceutical laws. Here in my province the Doctor must include the number of refills allowed and the pharmacist cannot go beyond that. And most pharmacists will not refill a prescription on the word of a phone call from the doctor. He must receive a written prescription which means a repeat visit by the patient to his physician. If problems occur, laws must be tightened and enforced. Seems clear to me.

enochville 12 years, 2 months ago

Cherry is very out-of-touch with the lives of teenagers. It is one thing to not be aware of any problems with high school prescription drug abuse, but it is quite another to be shocked if she found out that problems did exist.

It concerns me when people are that out-of-touch. I am not suprized, but concerned. I guess it is not that big a deal if she doesn't have any children. I hope someone clues her in if she does have children.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

Of course there's a problem with kids and prescription drugs. I, personally, think that a lot of kids that are prescribed drugs like ritalin, zoloft, etc. don't even need them. Some parents would rather drug little Johnny than get to the root of whatever problems he may have. The ones that aren't prescribed drugs can get them from their friends. Snorting ritalin is supposed to be a great high. Parents are stealing drugs from their kids, kids are stealing drugs from their parents, passing drugs around to each other at school. I knew a girl that was taking her daughter's ritalin so she could have the energy to do all of the stuff she needed to do in a day but then had the audacity to be mad at her kid for stealing pot from her. It seems as if everyone is on something.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

When I was in high school 15 years ago, it was mostly non-prescription drugs, not prescription ones. The average kids were smoking pot, the rich and popular kids were doing coke, and some of the more counterculture kids were doing acid or shrooms. There was also a subset that drank a lot of Robitussin.

The only prescription drug abuse I knew about was the diet pills some girls abused. I also found out later that some of the honor students were using diet pills as speed to keep up with their insane schedules.

I imagine the big change in prescription drug abuse has been the prevalence of Ritalin and Adderall. Those are pretty heavily overprescribed, and pretty readily available.

I'm always amazed when I see people like Cherry who seem to be utterly unaware of the state of drug use and abuse in this country. I wasn't really all that perceptive, and I knew kids in my junior high and high school were using drugs.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

omb: happy hour -- lol. jonas: It isn't Dune, they will just be showing news clips from the dry streets of Phoenix. I think we are on day 135 without rain, and there is no hope in sight -- e-gads.

on topic: We are indeed overmedicated as a nation and kids are doing too many drugs, which I find depressing. I think I'll go see my doctor to ask him to prescribe something for my depression.

Kids experiment with drugs, some abuse them, and I suspect most don't. I feel it is largely a parental issue when kids abuse drugs, and there needs to be more real parental involvement and not just parents letting their kids have and do whatever they want. But then again, we are talking about the spawn of baby boomers, a truly self-centered generation (it takes one to know one) who feel their children are the most wonderful and "special" creatures ever to walk the earth. They spoil their kids like no generation ever has. The kids have grown up thinking they are "special," and have had a video camera stuck in their faces recording every moment for future generations of their extraordinarily ordinary lives to prove it. They go to school thinking they should be allowed to do anything they want because they are special, and if told "no" then that person is mean -- and mean people suck.

They soon learn, however, that all the other kids are also "special." That is when the realization sets in that perhaps they aren't gifted and exceptional, but simply ordinary. This make them depressed. That leads to using drugs to help them relieve their ordinary existence.

So, I guess I should say that any drug problems with kids are a true reflection of the parents. (Of course, I don't have children, so what the heck do I know about the problems of modern parenthood? I actually just wanted to type the words "spawn of baby boomers," which then led to the rest.)

badger 12 years, 2 months ago


That's pretty close to how it is here. For some drugs, a phone call is sufficient, but usually they need a written prescription (which can be faxed) to continue refilling a drug once all the refills have been used.

The problem (and how we get to people abusing drugs that weren't prescribed for them) is that, say, I can go a different doctor every week and say I'm having back pain from a fender bender I was in or a fall off of a ladder. The doctor will give me a prescription for 30 muscle relaxants or painkillers with one refill. I take the prescription, fill it, and sell the pills on the black market. I read the dosage, figure out the minimum time (oh, I could be done with 30 pills in 10 days, OK!), and when that time is up I go get the refill and sell that too. Then, I call the doctor back and tell him I am out of meds but still in pain. A lot of doctors will just keep rewriting that scrip for months, especially if they're really busy and you don't have insurance to cover the cost of more treatment.

You fill the scrips at different chains or private drugstores, or you sell them outright. Occasionally, you mix it up by going to the dentist for a 'toothache' or maybe you go to the psychiatrist for some antidepressants or you go to another psychiatrist for some Ritalin to help you focus.

The problem is that if a patient is sufficiently educated about how to describe symptoms for the right balance of 'chronic condition with no effective cure available' and sufficiently adamant about needing medication to deal with pain, it would take the doctor time he's usually not willing to spend to figure out the person is shopping for meds. Since there's no universal prescription database (probably a HIPAA violation, I'd imagine), so long as you don't visit the same docs and pharmacies too often you can keep a system like this going for years, upgrading your 'conditions' as the new drugs come out.

You can also do this to get drugs for your own use, though it's not as profitable. The mother of one of my friends in high school had a margarine tub (the small kind, not the great big one) full of pills. She would go get prescription after prescription for depression, chronic pain, whatever, and when she felt down or upset she'd 'take a pill to relax'. She was pretty surprised when her daughter took a handful of them in a suicide attempt, but instead of getting rid of the tub, she just locked it in her dresser.

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