By: Celia Vilmont
From "pharming" to pill parties, teens are abusing prescription drugs in dangerous ways, and can become addicted quickly, warns an adolescent substance abuse specialist at Children's Hospital Boston.
"I see teens who become addicted to oxycodone by the third time they take it--they get hooked very quickly," says Patricia Schram, MD. "We're seeing a lot of teens who find pills and think it's fun to try them." She and her colleagues at Children's Hospital Boston Center for Adolescent Substance Research see teens who have become addicted to opioids through "pharming"--trying medicines they find in their own family's medicine cabinets or those of friends and family. They also see teens who have been rushed to the hospital after pill parties, where everyone brings pills they find at home and shares them with friends. "They don't know what they're taking or what could happen to them, and then they end up in the hospital in bad shape," she says.
Although Dr. Schram considers opioid abuse to be the most worrisome trend among teens, she and her colleagues are also seeing teens who abuse inhalants, the cold and cough medicine ingredient dextromethorphan, and newer substances such as K2, salvia and bath salts.
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