Can you imagine an 11-year-old 5th-grader needing drug detox for Xanax - or any drug? As appalling as the concept may seem, news reports across the country reveal that prescription drug abuse in middle schools these days isn't unusual. And Xanax, one of the most dangerous benzodiazepines, is among the most popular drugs with preteens. Prescription drug abuse has become so widespread that facilities for children are provided at dozens - possibly hundreds - of drug detox centers in the country.
We've all heard that prescription drug abuse is fast becoming the biggest drug problem in America. But 5th graders? It was most disheartening to read that 5th graders are peddling dangerous prescription drugs like Xanax to classmates at De Zavala Fifth Grade Center in Houston, TX. One kid has landed in hospital after overdosing; and an 11-year-old told his mom there are at least 10 kids at the school who regularly sell prescription drugs to other students for $2 or $3 a pill, including Vicodin, Tylenol 3, Xanax and speed. Police are investigating.
The anti-anxiety drug Xanax has been finding its way into the hands of hardened drug abusers for years. The widespread abuse of Xanax was illustrated this month when, in a single three-day period in Oak Ridge, TN, police confiscated a wide variety of drugs in 10 separate arrests of small-time dealers and addicts and, in every case, Xanax was included along with whatever other illicit drugs were seized.
Xanax, and indeed any of the benzodiazepine class of anti-anxiety drugs, can create dependence. Medical drug detox can often be required to safely withdraw from it. Benzos are even more dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol, or crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected - dangers that kids certainly don't know about, and so risky they can kill experienced addicts who know better. Polydrug use - multiple concurrent drug abuses, addictions and dependencies - are often encountered at drug detox centers, where specialists can be hard-pressed to deal with these difficult and complex withdrawals.
According to numerous government studies, kids that have early alcohol and drug experiences are more likely to move on to serious addictions as they get older. Alienated from family and friends, they join the tragic procession of young adults into dead-end lives. Only the lucky one escape from living fix-to-fix and crime-to-crime through drug detox and drug rehab.
If something isn't done soon to stop the easy access to these drugs, more and more kids are going to wind up addicted, mixed up in crime, and injured or even dead before they're old enough to know what a drug detox program is. In fact, it's the gateway to rehab and real recovery. Check out your kids, and their friends, thoroughly, and get them into drug detox if they're taking these drugs.
Rod MacTaggart is a Florida-based freelance writer who contributes articles on health.