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Teens’ Stories Show How Accessible Drugs Are

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A new survey finds that 23 percent of teens say they can get marijuana within an hour and that prescription drugs are easier to obtain than beer — findings echoed in stories from young drug users themselves.

In an Aug. 26 article, CNN interviewed youths whose experiences mirrored the major findings in the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University’s 14th annual Teen Survey. While looking for Pop Tarts at a friend’s house, Jessi Danner, then only 10, found a bag of cocaine in a drawer. “There’s this little baggie and she’s like, ’I have seen this in movies. You shove it up your nose’ – and so that’s what we did,” recalled Danner.

Danner, who became addicted, is now in the final stage of treatment at Vanguard Services in Virginia.

Similarly, Daniel Buruca was only 9 when he started using LSD. Devon Kennedy was in the 9th grade when she started using amphetamines and then quickly progressed to using cocaine and heroin.

Kennedy, who grew up in a Washington suburb, said she had no problems finding drugs at a young age.

“Every time I went to someone’s house, the first thing I said was I had to go to the bathroom and I went to the bathroom cabinets and there would always be something in there. Everywhere you went, somebody had a parent who had something,” said Kennedy.

The CASA survey found that the number of teens who say it is easier to buy marijuana than cigarettes or beer has increased by 37 percent since 2007,  and two-thirds of teens surveyed said drugs are used, kept or sold in their high school.

Debbie Taylor, Vanguard’s president and CEO, said parents should ask pediatricians to give their kids drug tests during their yearly physicals so any problems can be spotted right away. “Children go so quickly into an adaptive and addictive phase that it’s very difficult to reel them back at that point,” said Taylor.

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