Thursday, September 17, 2009

More teens addicted to prescription drugs

Local detox center sees jump in patients
By Misti Crane
THE Columbus Dispatch

OxyContin ruled Jennifer's days. She crushed and snorted the painkiller when she woke up, before she left for high school, during school, at home at night, before bed.

Sometimes she had to pay -- 80-milligram pills can go for $50 or more -- but usually her boyfriend or someone else at her suburban school got it for her. Pretty much everyone she hung out with smoked pot and drank, and many took pills.

She started with marijuana at 13, dabbled in alcohol but didn't like it all that much, and then started taking Vicodin. When the prescription painkiller stopped doing anything for her, she tried another narcotic, Percocet, but wasn't impressed.

An unprecedented number of young people are showing up there hooked on prescription medications and heroin, which they sometimes turn to as a cheaper alternative. They come predominantly from rural and suburban schools, and most live in middle-class or wealthy homes.

Last year, the number of adolescents who went through detox at Children's Hospital hit 50, double the number the year before, said Dr. Peter Rogers, who specializes in addiction medicine. Of those, 27 were girls and 23 were boys. All were white.

See: The Columbus Dispatch : More teens addicted to prescription drugs