WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The number of Americans who admit abusing prescription drugs nearly doubled to over 15 million from 1992 to 2003, with abuse among teens tripling, according to a new study released on Thursday.
The report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University suggested that more Americans were abusing controlled prescription drugs than cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin combined.
"Our nation is in the throes of an epidemic of controlled prescription drug abuse and addiction," said former health secretary Joseph Califano, chairman and founder of the Center.
"New abuse of prescription opioids among teens is up an astounding 542 percent," Califano said. "The explosion in the prescription of addictive opioids, depressants and stimulants has, for many children, made the medicine cabinet a greater temptation and threat than the illegal street drug dealer, as some parents have become unwitting and passive pushers."
This really isn't a surprise. Kids are getting the message that prescription drugs are ok because they come from a pharmacy in a nice, pretty, consumerized package and therefore are safe. They see on TV every day advertisements for pills to make you happy, sleepy, energetic, horny, skinny and a whole host of other things....why wouldn't they think it was perfectly ok to take pills instead of smoking a joint?
I guess we know what message pharmaceutical advertisements send to our kids.