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Teen Trend: 'Cabinet Parties'

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Teens are hosting "cabinet parties" -- where getting high on prescription meds is the ultimate goal.

bowl of pills

Teens in Calif. are engaging in a trend known as "cabinet parties," according to Crescenta Valley Police Chief Ron DePompa. "Teens raid their parent's medicine cabinet for opiates such as Vicodin and OxyContin, and take them to the party, where the pills are dumped into a large bowl for communal use," he says. This pill mixture is often called "trail mix" -- but it's anything but healthy.

These parties (also known as "pharming" or "punch bowl" parties) have been around for years, but experts say they're on the rise. Two point three million children aged 12 to 17 take legal prescription drugs illegally every year. One in five teens has intentionally misused someone else's prescription drugs. Nearly half say they get the medications from friends and relatives by taking them from medicine cabinets or at pharming parties.

Keep medications under lock and key, and advise other relatives to do the same.

Dr. Alanna Levine gives the following tips to parents:

1. Be aware of the increasing incidence of abuse.
2. Talk to your teens about the risk of sharing medications.
3. Be aware of how many pills are in the bottle, and monitor frequently.
4. Be wary of physicians who simply refill prescriptions without a proper evaluation.
5. Know the number for Poison Control (in the U.S., it's 800-222-1222) in case of an emergency.

Read more great tips on pharming prevention from teen expert Ross Ellis here.

Do your teens talk about cabinet parties or pharming parties? Have you ever noticed prescription meds missing from your medicine cabinet?

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39 comments so far | Post a comment now
My Momma Drama March 26, 2010, 8:25 AM

How are these kids not dying? Do they even know what they’re taking - or mixing with other drugs? So scary!

Christina  March 26, 2010, 8:43 AM

They are not dying because this is NOT happening! I’m not saying kids don’t take or trade prescription drugs, they do. But there is no evidence, no first hand accounts and no Police “raids” of one of these parties. There are several articles on Slate debunking this myth. I posted one comment, but apparently putting in a link to an article debunking this article makes it not post…sigh… Kids are smarter than this!!
**What kid would toss a Vicodin in a bowl and risk pulling out a Tylenol or a Benadryl?

Cara March 26, 2010, 1:25 PM

This isn’t a trend or anything new. I’m 35 years old and heard of kids doing this. They bring all drugs though like alcohol and marijuana.

K March 27, 2010, 2:06 PM

The reason I find this so hard to believe is the sharing aspect of it. Do kids try/abuse prescription drugs? Absolutely! But any high school kid knows the market value of those pills (whether they use them or not - I never did, and still could tell you how much a Xanax or an Adderall was going for) and they’re *definitely* not putting them out for “communal use” at 10 bucks a pill. No way!

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