NJ Teens Engaging in Pill Popping Party Game [AUDIO]
There is a prescription drug abuse epidemic among young people in New Jersey and it shows no signs of letting up.
Progress might be possible if more parents knew what their kids are really doing, and where they're getting the pills.
"Seventy percent of the prescription drugs are obtained from family or friends," said Dr. Lou Baxter, medical director for the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services. "Only five percent of the prescription drugs are obtained from dealers or the Internet."
Prescription drug abuse is second only to marijuana abuse, with opiates leading the way among all prescription drugs says Baxter. More than four million Americans are abusing opiates. One million are addicted to heroin. More than 17,000 people die from prescription drugs annually.
"They actually have a ritual among the young people," said Baxter. "They call it 'pharming' (P-H-A-R-M-I-N-G). Everybody takes a pill from their parent's or their grandparent's pill bottles and they come to a party and they drop the pills in there and people indiscriminately pick out a pill to see what the effect is going to be."
Forty-six percent of all admissions for treatment in New Jersey are for opiate and heroin addiction according to the latest statistics. Prescription pills are often a gateway drug that leads to heroin addiction.
"Heroin addiction has significantly increased from 2009 to 2011 by 12-percent," explained Baxter. "It is a cheaper alternative to prescription drugs."
Here's another shocking statistic; overdose deaths are the leading cause of accidental deaths in New Jersey. There have been roughly 6,000 overdose deaths in the Garden State since 2004.