More Teens Having "Pharm" Parties To Share Narcotics And Other Medications


SPECIAL REPORT—As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, many teens are experimenting with drugs that are more easily accessible. Those drugs at home are often easily accessible and may be considered safer to a teen wanting to experiment. Moreover, many adolescents are even going as far as to trade or sell secretly swiped pills for the euphoria that medicines can cause as side effects or use other types of drugs to “manage” their lives better, cope with stress, control their sleep patterns, boost their energy levels, lose weight or build muscle mass.


At least part of the reason for this disturbing trend growing among North Carolina teens is that the state’s general population is rising.  In 2005, North Carolina ranked 11th in most populated states with 8.7 million. By 2025, that figure is expected to rise to 9.25 million, propelling the state up to 8th largest population in the nation. As state residents grow in numbers, so will drug trafficking.


With teens, many view experimenting with pharmaceutical drugs to be safer than illicit street drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc. Teens may also consider the usage of prescription narcotics and other prescribed drugs to mean less trouble if they get caught.


Often doctors will prescribe such medications for a parent, grandparent or other close relative that may suffer from chronic conditions that warrant specific and controlled usages. However, these medicines have become the convenient drugs of choice for teens and removing pills from their family’s home not that difficult. While street drugs


Prescription pain medications such as Oxycontin, Valium, Vicodin, Oxycondone, Hydrocodone, Methadone and Percocet are often implicated in such teen black market trades in schools across the country, where kids may supply each other with drugs for trade or cash.


Other teens may simply resort to using over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrups containing dextromthorphan mixed with alcohol or pills to get high. 


 In some teen circles, “pharm” parties away from school and home can be an opportunity for this illegal and discreet drug trade. With prescription medicine information readily available online, teens can easily learn about the side effects that some drugs deliver without taking in consideration the risks involved.


If parents are hearing their teens using terminology such as “pharming” or “trail-mix”, then close attention may be required. “Trail mix” is a phrased coined from the similarities of keeping prescription pills in small plastic bags like popular trail mix snacks. 


In a study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, it was estimated that 1 out of every 5 U.S. teens has taken such drugs illegally for the sole purpose to get high.


While most parents, school officials, and public officials have spent years focusing their efforts on keeping kids off of illicit street drugs, more teens have discovered that prescription medications are often easier to get and their usage largely goes undetected until an overdose or other late-term revelation such as dependency or severe personality changes. Other teens become desperate enough to attempt to illegally obtain prescriptions from pharmacies, doctors or even buy medications online.


Parents can educate themselves by visiting drugfree.org or other similar websites and learn about this latest disturbing trend, while keeping open communications with their children about such drugs and their consequences.  Lastly, parents should safeguard their medicines in a secure place, while counting and keeping track of the pills they have in the medicine bottles.