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Prescription Drug FAQs

How do I know if my teen is using drugs?
One of the toughest things about drug use for parents is that often they cannot detect that their teen might be using drugs. However, there are some general warning signs you can watch for:

  • Change in friends
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Declining grades
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
  • Lack of motivation
  • Hostile or uncooperative attitude
  • Unexplained disappearance of household money

How can I protect my children and their friends in my home?
Use a locked medicine cabinet and a locked cabinet for any alcohol. Parents should talk often, listen regularly and communicate that they do not want their kids using drugs. Start talking with your children regularly. Remember, your teens are counting on you to be the grown-up. For tips on what to say, go to www.drugfree.org/tips.

What is a skittles party?
New terms to be aware of that you may hear your child talking about: Pharm or Skittles party, or trail mix. The new term “pharm party” refers to a party where prescription drugs are readily available in a potentially deadly mixture. The term “Pharm” is short for pharmaceuticals, which includes such drugs as Xanax, a strong tranquilizer and powerful pain killers like Vicodin and Oxycotin. Often times mind altering psychotropic drugs like Zoloft, Prozac, and Wellbutrin, commonly advertised on television, are taken in concert with other powerful pain pills and tranquilizers at these pharmaceutical cocktail parties. Pharm party goers often refer to this potentially lethal concoction as “Trail Mix”. The “trail mix” is usually served up in large bowls or baggies and handed out to guests in the same fashion as a hostess serves snacks and drinks at a cocktail party.

A “skittles party” is when kids each bring a variety of prescriptions- think Ritalin, Oxycodone, Tylenol with Codeine- to a party. They toss the pills into a bag/container/box. Then they reach in, pull out a random medication and take it.

Where are the major sources of prescription drugs used by teens?
More than half of teens who abuse prescription painkillers say they get them from friends or relatives for free. Prescription and OTC (over the counter) drugs are easy to get at home, at a grandparents’ house and even at school.