TheirDrugsofChoiceLATimesarticle -...

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View Full Document Right Arrow Icon,0,6250047.story?coll=la- home-health Their drugs of choice Teens are turning to Vicodin, Ritalin and other easily obtained prescription pills. By Daniel Costello Times Staff Writer February 7, 2005 Ryan SMITH remembers the night, during his junior year of high school, when a friend gave him his first Vicodin. "It felt so incredible. I remember thinking, 'I am going to do this for the rest of my life,' " he says. Over the next year, Smith, now 22, and his friends moved on to other pills — Xanax, Valium, OxyContin and the attention deficit disorder medication Adderall, called "kiddie cocaine" for its ability to be crushed and snorted. "At the time, it felt like I knew more kids who were doing pills than who weren't," he says of his Utah high school days. Daniel Smith, his younger brother, began using prescription drugs the same way when a friend offered him Vicodin while watching a school football game during his sophomore year. By that summer, he began taking "weak painkillers" such as Lortab and Percocet. Finally, he turned to highly addictive OxyContin, using it several times a week. Although the brothers eventually went through an addiction program, they never considered themselves "druggies." They were using pills safe enough to be used by millions of Americans, drugs both legal and easy to get. Each generation typically finds a new illicit drug to make its own: LSD in the '70s, cocaine in the '80s and Ecstasy and heroin in the '90s. Today's middle and high school students are experimenting with prescription drugs. Their drugs of choice are those often preferred by adults. After amphetamines such as Ritalin, they're turning to painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, then sedatives and tranquilizers. With illicit use tied to availability, California's share of the problem is considerable. Californians account for 12% of the nation's population and 8% of the nation's prescription drug use. Nationwide, prescription pills have become a societal force. Adults and children rely on them for a growing list of afflictions, including anxiety, depression, even shyness, for which few alternatives were available a generation ago. Nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug. Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer drug
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marketing that touts new and expanded uses has become widespread. Adults and children alike are exposed to print, television and radio ads promising happier, more fulfilled lives. For young people, experts say, all these factors appear to have blurred the line between the benefits and dangers of the medications. As prescription drug sales have
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2011 for the course PSYCH 111 taught by Professor Larson during the Fall '11 term at BYU.

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TheirDrugsofChoiceLATimesarticle -...

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