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Parents: Talk to your teen about prescription drug abuse

Jeanne Elmer, director of the Onondaga County Student Assistance Program, said "pharming parties" are one example of teens' tendency to abuse prescription meds - and other substances - in a social setting.

Pharming parties, Elmer said, consist of teens gathering and throwing all kinds of pill items into a bowl and seeing "what happens."

The contents of the bowl could be as harmless as an antacid or antihistamine, said Elmer, but could also be much more dangerous.

Treatment for such reckless ingestion of medication is also extremely tricky, Elmer pointed out. When such partygoers are taken to the emergency room, doctors are clueless how to treat them because they have no way of knowing what they've swallowed.

One CNY high school freshman said she sees her peers using prescription drugs nonmedically for various reasons.

"Some kids do it so they can overdose and get attention," she said. "Some do it because they want to hurt themselves. Some even do it because they feel like it will help them fit in."

Are parents helpless?

In light of the ease of purchasing prescription drugs for recreational use and the motives behind it, Laurie and Fred Squires of Skaneateles said there are always concerns about whether or not your child is doing something like that.

"As a parent you have to be more diligent," Laurie Squires said. "When they ask a question, they're willing to talk."

She added that for most parents it should be a reassuring feeling if their kids are asking questions about drug use.

"If they aren't willing to talk to you, I think that starts more suspicion," she said. "It makes it very difficult as a parent."

However, as the parents of four children, three of which are still in middle and high school, the Squires said they feel their children would talk to them if they were ever faced with a situation involving prescription drug abuse. Then again, one of their children is on prescription medications to treat ADD.

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