I heard that there has been an increase in the number of young people using prescription and over the counter drugs to get high. What kinds of drugs are being abused in our area and what are the dangers of these drugs?

You are right to be concerned. This is a serious threat that has been increasing in our local area. Many people, parents and teens alike, often think this is a less dangerous form of drug abuse because these medicines are legal and can be prescribed by a doctor or purchased without a prescription from a pharmacy. Just because these drugs are legal, does not make them any safer.

Anyone who has heard the commercials about prescription drugs know that they can have many, and often serious, side effects, even when used as prescribed. This is the reason doctors monitor any patient when they start a new prescription. When they are used outside this doctor-patient relationship they become extremely dangerous.

Consequences and effects of the drugs vary widely, depending upon the type of drug abused. Most commonly abused prescription drugs include prescription opiates used as painkillers, including Oxycontin, hydrocodone, Vicodin and others. Another drug that is known to be dangerous and addictive that also falls into the opiate category is heroin! Obviously, heroin is not prescribed, but this example is provided to help you see how dangerous and addictive these prescription painkillers can be.

Over-the-counter drugs abused include cough and cold medicines. For more information on over-the-counter drug abuse, see www.fivemoms.com, which was started by 5 moms who came together with a common cause: teenagers abusing cough medicine to get high.