Prescription Pill Use Among Teens Leads to Heroin Addiction, NJ Experts Testify

The abuse of prescription drugs among teens is growing in New Jersey and is leading to heroin addiction, experts testified at a state hearing this week.

Law enforcement experts told members of the State Commission of Investigation that teens can easily obtain prescription pills, such as Xanax, which has become a ‘gateway drug’ to heroin, according to

Teens are getting the pills from their parents’ medicine cabinets. Because the pills themselves are legal, teens don’t see a stigma in taking them, experts said. Teens turn to heroin when prescription pills become too expensive and don’t provide enough of a high, they reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, 20 percent of U.S. high school students had ever taken a prescription drug, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax, without a doctor’s prescription.

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