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Drug abuse moves from alleyways to hallways

"Prescriptions are even easier to get at home sometimes than alcohol," he said.

The free marketplace

And at school, prescriptions are just as abundant, and just as free.

NSDUH in 2007 found that people age 12 and older who had used prescriptions non-medically in the last year had acquired them for free from a friend or relative.

Though students had gotten those drugs from friends or relatives, school districts throughout New York state are under strict guidelines when administering prescriptions to students.

Students needing to take medication during the school day must have parental consent and the drug needs to come from a physician.

"Any drugs dispensed have to come from a prescription (written by a doctor)," Tice said.

While school nurses are required to follow a state-wide policy for the administration of prescription drugs at school, health class curriculums are not as structured by the state.

"That is a part of the curriculum in our health classes and we do address those issues," said D'Angelo. "Fortunately we haven't had to deal with any of the issues as Marcellus and F-M have. Obviously if something arises we will have to deal with it at that time."

Individual teachers and districts are responsible for students' competency in a range of topics, but the methods they use to teach those subjects are relatively flexible.

A kid in a candy store

It's easy to see why prescription drug abuse is popular among younger students -- prescription drugs are easily accessible, found in nearly every household and carry a doctor's approval.

D'Angelo said he's not sure where kids are getting prescription drugs and suggested they may be coming right from the medicine cabinet at home.

Likewise, Tice said he also thought the drugs could be coming from home.

"I'm assuming [they could come] from anybody's medicine cabinet in the house," he said.

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