Some of the most commonly abused prescription medicines include: Adderall, Ritalin, Vicodin, Xanax, Oxycodone, Codeine, Ambien.

The Truth about “Pharming”

A particularly disturbing development in the realm of youthful drug abuse is a phenomenon known as pharming. The term refers to the unauthorized use of pharmaceutical and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for the purpose of getting high.

At pharming parties (also known as “Skittles parties”), kids bring whatever drugs they can get their hands on—often by raiding the family medicine cabinet—and throw them into a communal bowl. After that, everyone takes turns downing pills by the handful, often with the aid of an alcoholic chaser. It’s a type of prescription roulette, and it can have all kinds of frightening results, including stroke, heart attack, brain damage, delirium, and death.

Arming against Pharming

You can protect your teens against abuse of pharmaceuticals by putting this plan into practice:

  • Keep medicine cabinets locked and prescription drugs out of reach of your kids and visiting friends.
  • Check to make sure prescriptions drugs are being taken only as prescribed.
  • Build a strong relationship with your kids. This is the best and most reliable of all protective and preventative strategies.
  • Make sure all unwanted, unused, and expired medications are disposed of properly.

What makes this trend all the more alarming is that one in four parents actually believe that prescription and OTC medications are safer to misuse than street drugs.[1] The truth is that pharming is more than just a perilous prelude to suicidal thoughts—it’s a potentially fatal activity in and of itself.

  1. Mary Laughlin, “‘Pharming’ Endangers Teens,” The Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, June 2008; 101 (6-7):164.