'Pharming parties' dangerous for teens

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Knoxville (WVLT) If you are the parent of a teenager you probably monitor your liquor cabinet, but it's the medicine cabinet you should be worried about.

While the use of illegal street drugs is on the decline, one in five teenagers has tried addictive, narcotic painkillers.

This isn't an ordinary party.

It isn't the kind of pharming that probably comes to mind, either.

Pharming parties, or just pharming, from the word pharmaceutical, represents a growing trend among teenagers.

Catherine Brunson, Metropolitan Drug Commission says, "it is the only drug that we track both locally and nationally that keeps trending upwards each and every year."

Pharming is a party arranged while parents are out, so teenagers can trade for their favorite prescription drugs.

While the use of illegal drugs like speed, heroin and marijuana has declined over the past decade, abuse of prescription drugs has increased sharply.

"Primarily because they're in everybody's home. I mean, one in three people in Knox county have a prescription narcotic or mind-altering drug in their medicine cabinet."

Columbia University's national center on addiction and substance abuse estimates more than 2.3 million children ages 12 to 17 take legal prescription drugs, illegally, every year.

The problem isn't simply that teenagers can become addicted, they can die.

Brunson continues, "and they're just taking whatever drug they can get, combining them in a bag and pharming them out, taking a handful, and you have no idea what very dangerous interactions could be with that drug."

Prescription drugs have side effects that range from unpleasant to dangerous for the teenager using them recreationally.

But the effects and the dangers are intensified when combined with each other, alcohol or illegal street drugs.

Some parents need to consider their own drug behavior.

If you're casual about using prescription drugs, even if you're not trying to get high, you can set a bad example.

Medications should only be used by the person for whom they're prescribed, to treat the conditions for which they're prescribed.

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