A growing number of teenagers say it’s easier to obtain prescription drugs illegally than to buy beer says a new survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University quoted by the Washington Post. The survey asked, “Which is easiest for someone your age to buy: cigarettes, beer, marijuana, or prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin or Ritalin, without a prescription?” Nineteen percent of teenagers found it easier to purchase prescription drugs than cigarettes, beer, or marijuana, compared with 13 percent a year ago. The study found that a large group of parents do not know where their children are in the evening and identified a group of “problem parents” whose actions increased the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs among 12-to-17-year-olds.
Some 34 percent of teenagers abusing prescription drugs, like OxyContin and Vicodin, obtained them at home or from their parents. “Fifty years ago, people would lock up the liquor,” said center president Joseph Califano. “Maybe there should be a lock on the medicine cabinet now.” Half of all teenagers allowed out after 10 p.m. said that they spent time with people smoking and using drugs. Califano recommended family dinners as a way of decreasing the chances of drug abuse, noting that 23 percent of teens who ate fewer than three dinners a week with their family used marijuana, compared with 10 percent when the family ate together five or more times a week.