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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 1, 2008
There are some new drug dealers in town, and they're pushing pills. The dealers are kids, and they don't even know what they're doing. In fact, they have no idea Mom and Dad are their only customers.
It seems their parents are going to a new low to get a new high.
We've all seen the ads on television, warning parents that kids are getting high off of prescription drugs they find at home. This is happening so much, some are calling these kids "Generation Rx." It's happening all over the country, and experts say the Aiken-Augusta area is no exception.
This was a secret for a long time, but it's not a secret anymore. In fact, another prescription drug secret has taken its place. Parents are now stealing their kids' drugs to get high.
Tim Robinson is the clinical director of Bradford Health Services in Augusta. He has devoted his life to treating addiction, so he certainly knows this is going on. He also knows "they use the stimulants, and the most common are Ritalin and Adderal."
Doctors prescribe these drugs to help kids with ADHD concentrate in class, but Mom and Dad are using them for a very different reason. Robinson says they take the pills "to help them with a long drive, to have more energy at work, that kind of thing."
Here's the tough part. Most of the time, this abuse goes unnoticed.
Since kids typically don't keep track of their meds, they don't realize when pills are missing. Robinson also says "sometimes the adolescent will stop taking the medication and the parents will still, maybe, have another refill and get that filled."
Maybe the child does notice, but what then?
They're supposed to tell on Mom or Dad?
Robinson knows this is a difficult situation. "They love their parent. They don't want to get their parent in trouble. They're worried the police will get involved, and they don't want to upset them."
Robinson, however, says this could lead to something even more upsetting. The parent could eventually become hooked on these pills. They could become addicts.
Robinson says if kids start noticing pills missing or if Mom or Dad isn't dispensing them on a regular basis, the child needs to talk to someone they trust, and they need to do it right now.
So, while ads are telling you to watch the medicine cabinet for disappearing drugs, experts wonder if there should be another ad campaign, one that tells kids to talk to their parents.