That's the conclusion of a report released Wednesday by White House drug czar John Walters that found while teenagers' use of marijuana is declining, their abuse of prescription drugs is holding steady or in some cases increasing.
"The drug dealer is us," said Walters, the national drug policy director, who released the report Wednesday at a news conference in New York. "We have to have a response that keeps that very important fact in mind."
Teens who are being treated for prescription drug addiction agreed.
"It's available and you can get high off of it," said Michael Robin, a 17-year-old who is being treated for addiction to drugs, including Xanax and OxyContin, at a Phoenix House facility on Long Island.
Walters said in some cases teens use the Internet to obtain drugs or to visit Web sites that provide what purport to be instructions for taking safe amounts of various prescription drugs.
Victoria Winebarger, a therapist at the Pathway Family Center in Southfield, 바카라사이트
Mich., said some of her clients have also used the Internet to research symptoms of conditions including depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder so that they can get a doctor to prescribe drugs for them. "That's not uncommon," she said.
Winebarger told CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi that all but four of the kids in her classroom abused prescription drugs.
"These kids think they're cleaner because of the package they're in," she said.
According to an analysis of national drug surveys prepared by Walters' office, 2.1 million teenagers abused prescription drugs in 2005, the last year for which figures are available.
While their use of marijuana declined from 30.1 percent to 25.8 percent from 2002 to 2006, use of OxyContin, a painkiller, increased
from 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent over the same period. Use of Vicodin, another pain reliever, increased slightly from 6 percent to 6.3 percent.
Teens are abusing pain relievers as well as stimulants like Adderall and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax because they are readily available and perceived as safer than street drugs, Walters said.
"Fifty-seven percent of them say they get them free from friends or they take them out of somebody's medicine cabinet," Walters said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The report is based on the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey of 68,308 families, and the 2005 Monitoring the Future Survey of 50,000 eighth, 10th and 12th graders conducted by the University of Michigan.