Parents have become adept at teaching their children about the dangers of illegal drugs. The iconic “Just Say No” catch phrase has guided a generation of parents trying to steer their children away from cocaine, heroin, and other dangerous drugs. However, the most commonly abused drugs can be found in our own medicine cabinet. These are also the mostly easily accessible drugs. No drug dealer required!
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 15 million Americans reported using a prescription drug for nonmedical reasons at least once during the year. The biggest perpetrators? Teenagers. Nearly 1 in 5 teens have abused prescription drugs. Scarier than that, the most common abusers of prescription drugs are 12- to 13-year-olds. Here in Pinellas County, we are at the epicenter of this dangerous trend.
The threat of prescription drug abuse is real. Knowledge of which prescription drugs are most abused and what they are called is critical. Below is a list of these drugs, their street names (children rarely refer to them by their common name), and their side effects.
Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Morphine, Codeine: Hillbilly Heroin, Oxy Vike, Watson-387, Tuss, Big Boys, Cotton, OC, Cotton, Percs, Morph, Kicker, Happy Pills.
Side effects: These drugs are taken for pain relief, euphoria, and drowsiness. They also can cause respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, coma and addiction.
Sedatives and tranquilizers, including barbiturates: Chill Pills, French Fries, Tranqs, Barbs, reds, yellows, yellow jackets, candy, A-minus, zombie pills.
Side effects: These drugs are taken to reduce pain and anxiety, grant a feeling of well-being, and lower inhibitions. They can also cause slowed pulse and breathing, lowered blood pressure, poor concentration, fatigue, impaired coordination, memory loss, respiratory depression, and addiction.
Stimulants, including Ritalin and Adderall: (Ritalin) Rid, Vitamin R, Jif, R-ball, Rittys, Rits; (Adderall) Beans, Black Beauties, Christmas Trees, Double Trouble
Side effects: These drugs are taken to achieve feelings of exhilaration, energy, and increased mental alertness. They can also cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, reduced appetite, weight loss, and heart failure.
Knowing more about the pressures and lingo that your children will face can give you the upper hand when it comes to keeping kids off of prescription drugs. If you are looking to be more involved in the fight against substance abuse in and around Pinellas County please visit us online.
Prescription Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov)
Prescription Drug Abuse Chart (National Institute on Drug Abuse)