Thursday, September 25, 2008
Are Pharm Parties Real?
Because I worry as a part time job, I have been reading about a new pastime among teenagers. It's called a pharm party. The basic idea behind it is to swipe a bunch of leftover prescription pills from the medicine cabinet, get a group of kids (usually eighth grade and above) who also bring swiped prescription meds, then open the capsules, smash the tablets, and mix everything into a big hodgepodge that is sniffed, snorted or swallowed. The psychoactive swap can be anything from antibiotics to blood pressure meds. The drugs of choice, or so it's rumored, are pain killers.
Now, I am still stumped by the thought of cutting parties. So when I read about these parties, I marched straight into my boys' room with the paper. They were sprawled on the sofa, texting while blank homework worksheets littered the floor. This is how it went:
Son 1: "Hey Mom, why do you look so worried? And do we have any ham left?"
Son 2: "The rest of the pizza rolls are mine. Don't touch them."
Mom explains about pharm parties. The boys laugh.
Son 2: "That's ridiculous. No one does that. You would get so messed up."
Son 1: "You should stop reading so much. So can you make me a sandwich?"
So, in my usual relentless manner, I asked the kids I worked with, both first year college students and high school students, if they had heard of pharm parties. They shrugged. None of them knew anyone who had ever participated in one, yet this is all over the media. And everyone knew what I meant immediately(except my two sons). When all else failed, I turned to that mecca of youth culture communication: I asked Son No. 2 to do a pharm party search on myspace.
Now, I do know that the kids there will post just about anything, and very little showed up about pharm parties. It seems this idea was first reported by the (National)Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Then it was on a few of the daytime talk shows, but apparently, and thankfully, the pharm party is largely a mythical creation of the media. Sure, kids probably get together and barter some of the drugs in the medicine cabinet, but the implication out there is that this is an organized, widespread ritual of drug abuse that is happening inside the lovely homes on your street.
Why would they want us to believe such a thing?