Report: Teens Abusing Prescription Drugs

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Prescription drug abuse is a fast-growing problem among America's youth.

A government report released Thursday says that more than 2.1 million teens abused prescription drugs in 2006. And every day, 2,500 kids between 12 and 17years old try one for the first time.

"It's now reached a level where, for young people, the abuse of prescription pharmaceuticals is equal to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy combined," said John Walters, U.S. drug czar.

The government is trying to reverse the trend with a new TV ad campaign set to kick off on Super Bowl Sunday.

"It's designed to help to reverse the alarming trend we've seen about the abuse of prescription drugs -- particularly among young people," Walters said.

As alarming as that sounds, this is a problem most parents are still in the dark about.

"It was totally a shock. I had no idea that he was abusing," Linda Surks told ABC News.

Surks worked for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence -- yet her 19-year-old son Jason, died from a prescription drug overdose. He got them from the Internet.

But its not just kids. Adults, with legal access to powerful pain killers and mood enhancers, are increasingly abusing them, too.

The airwaves are full of pharmaceutical ads, and even though they carry warnings, many people just don't understand what can happen when they are ignored.

"It's easy to overdose on these drugs because they are very potent," Dr. Herbert Kleber told ABC News. "We are certainly a society that feels that there is an answer to every problem and that answer lies in a chemical."

Sources: ABC News, The Associated Press

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