If you have been reading news about prescription drug abuse lately, you may have noticed the word "pharm party" appearing more often than it used to. It's not a new term but it's becoming more popular these days, particularly among teenagers.
Addiction psychiatrist Dr. Neil Capretto explained pharm party as a gathering that involves kids abusing purchased or stolen pharmaceutical drugs, often in combination with other drugs like alcohol
. He describes it as being "extremely dangerous ... like literally playing Russian roulette," according to the WALB News report.
"I tell parents to treat narcotic medicine like it's a loaded gun because actually more people die in your community from overdoses from prescription medicines than homicides and traffic fatalities," said Capretto.
Capretto stressed the importance of parental involvement
in their child's life and be aware of their habits, friends, and behavior.
But how are pharm parties influencing the way teenagers experiment with prescription medicines?
Although critics say pharm parties are not really happening, police had expressed their worry just the same.
"The kids really have no idea what they’re taking," Steve Ufford, Clark County School District Police Officer, told the Las Vegas Sun
. "That’s what makes it so very dangerous."
It may not suffice to say that pharm parties are the biggest contributing factor in the increasing number of teenagers who misuse and abuse prescription drugs
. However, some law enforcers consider them as one of today's trends particularly among high schoolers who have gotten smarter in concealing drugs
Ufford also said teenagers can have access to prescription drugs from their parents' or grandparents' medicine cabinets. That said, officials and addiction specialist recommend proper disposal
or storage of household prescription medicines to avoid landing them into the wrong hands.
Misuse of prescription drugs is very common in teenagers, but people who are on long-term opioid medication
are also at higher risk of abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, there were more than 14,000 prescription painkiller deaths in 2008. In 2009, misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers were responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits across the US, prompting an urgent need for prescription drug tests