This Just In: Kids Use Medication to Get High


Based on 2004 survey results it released yesterday, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) has dubbed kids today "Generation Rx." PDFA President Roy Bostock breathlessly reports:

A new category of substance abuse is emerging in America: Increasingly, teenagers are getting high through the intentional abuse of medications….For the first time, our national study finds that today's teens are more likely to have abused a prescription painkiller to get high than they are to have experimented with a variety of illicit drugs–including Ecstasy, cocaine, crack, and LSD. In other words, "Generation Rx" has arrived.

For anyone who messed with cough medicine or a relative's pills as a teenager, the notion that such experimentation represents "a new category of substance abuse" is risible. While certain pharmaceuticals (Ritalin, Xanax) may be new arrivals in the family medicine cabinet, others (Vicodin, dextromethorphan) have been around a long time, and some (barbiturates, prescription amphetamines) are harder to get than they used to be.

Nor do the PDFA's own data support the idea that 2004 was the year when using medication to get high suddenly became fashionable. To begin with, its survey started asking about nonmedical use of medication in 2003, so we have only two years of data. In last year's survey, 10 percent of teenagers reported ever taking Ritalin or Adderrall for kicks–the same percentage as in 2003. Likewise, the PDFA says the 2004 survey indicates that "approximately one in five teenagers has abused a prescription painkiller to get high," compared to 21 percent in 2003.

Furthermore, it is not true that the 2004 survey was "the first time" when nonmedical painkiller use was more common than use of "a variety of illegal drugs." In 2003 the figures for lifetime use of Ecstasy, cocaine (including crack), and LSD were 9 percent, 9 percent, and 7 percent, respectively. Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of those are less than 21 percent.

After years of its ridiculous propaganda, I take it for granted that the PDFA misrepresents the hazards of drugs. Now it turns out the organization's professional prevaricators can't even be trusted to accurately describe their own research.

NEXT: iPods for the Elderly

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  1. I wonder who was the illicit drug dealer who used to stamp his drugs Rohr 714 back in the ’70s?

  2. Did we ever solve the “gas tank huffing” epidemic yet?

    The hysteria propagated by PDFA makes one think that teenagers are an endangered species and are being driven to extinction by their own hand. If one was to take a look at the natural habitat of the teenager, the mall, they would be inclined to think that the extinction is not coming soon enough!

  3. Not to mention chewing a box or two of sucrets lozenges. Really took the edge off study hall back in the ’70’s….

  4. …The headline immediately made me think of the Onion’s classic point/counter-point piece:

    A 78 year old woman who says: “Youth is wasted on the young.” versus a 20 year old party girl who counters that, “Prescription medication is wasted on the elderly.”

  5. This just in: kids spin around really fast in circles and get high.

  6. Ban medication! If God wants you to heal, He’ll heal you Himself.

  7. phocion – that’s right, because we can’t forget the children!

  8. Now it turns out the organization’s professional prevaricators can’t even be trusted to accurately describe their own research.

    They’re too busy pissing their pants and screaming hysterically in the latest panic. I mean really, this is getting comical.

  9. While I wish I hadn’t needed the root canal, last week’s dental work has supplied me with this week’s Vicodin.

    Mmmm, Vicodin.

  10. “A 78 year old woman who says: “Youth is wasted on the young.” versus a 20 year old party girl who counters that, “Prescription medication is wasted on the elderly.”

    That should be the Social Security reform mantra!
    Thanks, that gave me a good hearty laugh, as only the Onion can.

  11. Going for the obvious one here, but I really have to wonder just what, exactly, those at the PDFA are smoking. After all, they must be high to think we’re all this stupid.

  12. Back when I was on the wrong side of 21, the only times we ever bothered with cough syrup was when we couldn’t find anyone to buy us booze.

  13. This just in: teenagers also like to race each other down remote roads late at night, in cars they’ve souped up in auto shop at school.

    There’s also the disturbing tendency toward junk-food consumption, and trying to get action from the opposite sex.

    Wow, I’ve got a whole PDFA report here myself.

  14. Generation Rx my ass. Going back to 1978, without Nancy’s mom’s valium, geometry class would have been even more boring.

  15. MEDIAGEEK, the Partnership doesn’t worry about whether ‘we’ are that stupid…they only rely on the fact that politicians and policy makers are that stupid.

    (waiting for the multi-billion dollar ad campaign from the Partership that is focused solely on underage binge alcohol and tobacco use).

  16. even better Onion headline:

    Drugs win drug war

  17. Generation Rx arrived a long time ago. Trading pills was like trading baseball cards when I was in high school, and that was ten years ago. This is old news, PDFA makes it sound like a new trend.

  18. A few years ago I had surgery to correct an extremely painful…condition. Prior to an ER doctor making the decision to cut me, I was on Percocet for about a week. Never mind the fact that I absolutely could not shit at all, the stuff worked to keep me from passing out due to pain.

    I needed Rx narcotics for about a week after the operation as well. When I was all better, I had some ‘cet left. One evening I decided to take three of them…WOO-HOO! I was feeling NO pain…until the next day. I felt like shit all day, until the evening, when I yakked like I never had before, and even then I did not feel better.

    So now, I use them only as directed. Live and learn.

  19. I’ll have the Darvon, thank you.

  20. “I was on Percocet for about a week. Never mind the fact that I absolutely could not…”

    Dude, wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-y too much information…

  21. Drugs are cool and I’m cool for taking them!
    /dumbass Reasonite

  22. “Dude, wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-y too much information…”

    Not at all, Jim. I could have really opened up and told you what the painful condition was.

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