Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Test kit highlights possible rise in prescription drug use among kids

From the Vancouver Sun:
As if it isn't enough for parents to worry about whether their teenager is using marijuana, cocaine or crystal meth, a new drug-testing kit presents parents with the option of testing their children for prescription drug use, too.

With a quick snip or a clump of hair, parents can find out within days whether a child has dipped into the family medicine cabinet, has tried cocaine in the past three months, uses crystal meth on the weekends, or is taking painkillers on a daily basis.

"Prescription drugs are so accessible to kids. They're in the medicine cabinet, so they don't really think it's dangerous for them," said Zeynep Ilgaz, president and co-founder of Confirm BioSciences, the California-based maker of the home drug-testing kits.

"Kids think it's a safe way to get high because they're not illegal."

Ilgaz said prescription drug abuse, particularly of OxyContin and Vicodin, is on the rise in the United States.

There are few Canadian statistics on the number of people who abuse prescription drugs, but the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse says available evidence suggests Canadians are among the heaviest consumers of psychotropic medication in the world. And a recent study found indications that non-medicinal use of prescription opioids is increasingly replacing heroin. ...more

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