Prescription Drug Awareness
The Anne Arundel County Police Department would like to educate citizens on prescription drugs and a new trend referred to as “Pharming Parties”. Over the past several years, juvenile prescription drug abuse has been on the rise. Juveniles have potential access to a larger variety of prescription medication than ever before because these drugs are more widely available to the general public. Pharming parties (also called pharm parties), is a term invented to describe a get-together where individuals, particularly juveniles, exchange and ingest prescription drugs, to get intoxicated or “high”. There have been several reports recently of juvenile parties where kids consume handfuls of different types of prescription pills, sometimes not even knowing what the pills were they had consumed. It is also common at pharm parties to consume alcohol while taking the prescription medication. This increases the effects of the prescription medication and has greater potential to cause serious injury or death.
Participants attending these parties have explained, when you attend a pharm party you are required to bring prescription pills. When juveniles take the prescription drugs from home it is called “pharming”. Once at the party, the pills are collected and placed into a large bowl or bag. The bowl or bag of pills is referred to as “trail mix”. Each juvenile takes several pills from the bowl or bag and consumes them. A partygoer’s status is determined by the amount of pills he or she can ingest. The more pills one takes, the more they are respected by other partiers.
Juveniles and young adults are in the mindset that prescription drugs obtained legally from a doctor are safe. Movies, television and some media coverage have sensationalized celebrity drug use and portrayed it as normal behavior for young and beautiful people. In the current TV series “House”, the lead role “Doctor Gregory House”, abuses vicodin to function in his day to day life, while performing miracle medical procedures. Prescription drugs unfortunately represent an acceptable form of escape without the negative stigma of illegal street drugs.
Parents can prevent prescription drug abuse by discussing the negative physical, emotional, and functional effects of using these types of drugs, as well as their expectations regarding drug use, and coping with peer pressure. Adequate parental supervision has also been found to be a deterrent to drug use by youths. Parents should know how, where, and with whom adolescents socialize. Parents need to know the different types of prescription and over-the-counter medication that are being abused across the country. Parents need to keep medications locked up and inaccessible from juveniles, dispose of expired medications, and keep count of prescribed medications.
The following is a list of helpful websites: