You may be surprised to know that prescription drugs have been used by teens for a long time before pharm parties were even a known term. In fact, the first studies showed an increased use of tranquilizers way back in the middle of the 1980’s, and dramatic increases in sedative use from 1995 to the year 2000 followed.
Lately the prescription drug abuse has gotten more press because the first time users of prescription drugs are now occurring at the same rate as first-time marijuana users, and teens are now more likely than adults to abuse prescription drugs.
When asked about prescription drug use, about one-third of teens say they feel pressured to at least try them. Others admit they want to get high; it may be a means of escape, a way of relieving boredom, or simple curiosity. Still others say abuse of prescription drugs helps them deal with stress, anxiety, depression, or the pressures of school.
These are the same reasons many teens had for using illicit drugs of any kind such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. They have turned to prescription drugs because they have the assumption that because the drugs are prescribed by a doctor they must be safer than illicit drugs.
Just like teens may hang out and drink or smoke marijuana. Go to keg parties and smoke the occasional blunt, they may also hang out and use prescription drugs together. These parties instead of keg parties have been labeled pharm parties by the media, though few teenagers would call them that. The media coined the term pharm parties not the kids doing it.
Many parents have never heard the term “pharm” party. Short for pharmaceutical party, these gatherings bring together teens who have raided the medicine cabinets of family and friends. The prescription drugs at these supposed pharm parties, that are misused by teenagers typically come from their own homes. If the teens themselves don’t have medications, the parents do. And few parents track their prescriptions well enough to know if a few pills are missing. Teens only have to go as far as their medicine cabinets to find the stuff to make a pharm party happen.
The host provides a large bowl. All the pills are tossed into the bowl and each teen grabs a handful of pills to swallow. To add to the danger, the pills are often taken using some alcoholic beverage to wash them down. Alcohol and one drug can be a lethal combination. Alcohol and an unstable mix of various drugs is a more potent killer.
There’s actually little evidence to even prove the existence of “pharm parties” as described by the media, yet prescription drug abuse among teenagers is still a growing issue. Teens may not get together for pharm parties with the single intention of just getting a candy bowl filled with pills, but when there’s a party, prescription drugs are most often involved, especially since they’re easier to get than either alcohol or marijuana for those that are underage.
Pharm parties may be a media term when it comes to what is actually going on but one thing is clear; the youth of America is becoming more and more of a pill generation than any other generation before and who knows maybe the media will be accurate about their pharm parties in the near future.