NewsWest 9 Special Report: Prescription Drugs and Over the Counter Medication

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

It's now number three on the list of drugs that teens abuse most. Right behind alcohol and marijuana are drugs that can be found in any home in America.

"Any case where we have one child in possession of it, we have one child with that is harmed because of it, it's of concern to us," Lt. Rowden with ECISD Police, said.

Concern and use is growing. The partnership for a drug free America now says one in five teens has abused prescription pain medication, stimulants or tranquilizers. Over the counter medications are also commonly abused.

"What we've seen in a number of instances is students will obtain large amounts of "Triple C" or cortisone and take them anywhere from increments of 10 capsules to 30 capsules at a time," Rowden said.

A young girl tells NewsWest 9, cold medicine is very popular among students in her school.

"They"ll put it inside their Gatorade just so it can look the same, or they will have coke bottles they will mix it in since different cough syrups have different flavors, they will mix it in and you really can't tell the difference. "

Easy access is the main reason teens are turning to these drugs. Often, all a teen has to do is look in their parents medicine cabinet.   

"That is one of the messages that we want to get out is that parents have got to make it to where its is not accessible, to where it can not be easily obtained," Rowden said.

Taking someone else's prescription drugs or over the counter medication at school can have serious consequences.

"If it's prescription drugs and it's not their prescription then there are criminal penalties. It can be anywhere from a Class A Misdemeanor to a felony of the 3rd degree," Rowden said.

That felony can follow kids for the rest of their lives, but popping pills can also lead to something even worse.

"Kids don't know what they are taking they may be taking blood pressure medicine, any of that stuff. Most prescription drugs are narcotic level drugs class three drugs and can affect your liver, your brain, your nervous system and they can stop breathing," Wayne Wallace with Student Assistance Services in Odessa, said. 

Ector County school officials say they deal with each situation seriously and swiftly.

The district says there is a great online resource for parents, you can visit www.theantidrug.com, and you can find there you can find all sorts of resources and warning signs for drug abuse.