“Pharming” To Get High: Alarming New Trend Among Teens

A new and disturbing drug abuse trend will shock you. It involves parties where teens put prescription drugs in a bowl and take a handful, without knowing what they are.

The dangerous trend is called “pharming”, which is the abuse of legal pharmaceuticals.

”Pharming” to get high
It's a story playing out in high schools across America.

"I used to just take a handful of pills. I know one time I mixed a Trazadone, Vicodin, Atovan and Celexa, nearly filled the palm of my hand," says Dan, who is a recovering addict. "You can just look in some friend's medicine cabinet and chances are you'll find something."

Dan has been in treatment for a year and a half, trying to overcome an addiction that started at home, with drugs that are legal. "My brothers took Adderall for their ADD and so I'd take theirs," he says.

At school, there was more.

"It's like barter with pills pretty much. If I give somebody so many pills, they'll give me a few of these, which I really wanted," says Dan.

Some experts say kids are so organized, some of them throw "pharma-parties".

"When it's time to party, the kids gather around the bowl. You put your hand in the bowl and you pull out some pills, and part of the fun is not knowing exactly what you're getting," Tom Hedrick with Partnership for a Drug Free America explains.

Liz Cunneen's daughter Vicky started experimenting with drugs for add. She says, "She got to the point where she would go to the doctor or an emergency room or a dentist and fake pain to get a prescription for Vicodin.”

It was a scheme her mother said was concocted by her older sister who was already hooked. "Once she had that she had the doctor's DEA number on the prescription pad. She would white everything out and change names and use false names and take them into pharmacies and have them filled," she explains.

The 15-year-old got away with it for two years.

Finally, Liz says her actions caught up with her and she was arrested. "She went into the pharmacy and she waited for the prescription. In the meantime the pharmacy had called police, and they were waiting for her when she came out," she says.

At 17, Liz’s daughter is now in rehab, with a record.

She says there ought to be a law similar to ones passed for cold medication, no ID, no prescription. "Cold medication? Photo ID. Vicodin? Sure, here it is," she says.

Shocking statistics
In a 2005 survey by Partnership for a Drug Free America, roughly 4.5 million teens reported having taken prescription painkillers such as Vicodin or Oxycontin or stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall to get high.

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