Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Prescription Pills: The New Drug of Choice for Teens


Almost daily, officers in Whippany had scanned the increasingly complex board at HQ that mapped out the key players in the business, praying that their own children's names wouldn't appear. Considering drug use was so rampant in the school that kids called it Whippany Perc (after the popular painkiller Percocet), how many students could remain untouched? "Everyone at school knew you could get pills from Evan if you were good friends with him," recalls a 2007 graduate who had attended school with the dealer for years. "Suddenly, everyone was good friends with him."

Statistically, too, the officers had reason to worry. Although high school drug use is down across the country, in the past 10 years the rate of prescriptiondrug abuse among teens has risen steadily. Nearly one in five — 4.5 million — admits to abusing medications not prescribed to him or her, reported the 2005 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

In December 2007, at a sentencing related to the bust, New Jersey State Superior Court Presiding Criminal Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County described the Whippany teens' activities as "a large-scale drug distribution syndicate," adding that the abuse of prescription drugs "is not so much a plague on our society as a cancer that continues to grow." Rokoszak's family spearheaded a letter-writing campaign to plead for leniency — because the teen, as they put it, "is remorseful and has turned his life around" — but the 30-odd letters were of no avail: In February 2008, Judge Manahan sentenced Rokoszak to seven years in state prison (he must serve a minimum of five). Hearing the decision, his mother broke down, sobbing, "Oh, my baby, my baby."

Schools throughout the country have problems just like Whippany Park's. The difference is that there the authorities took action. But law-enforcement officials elsewhere are catching on, too. Seven youths, two still in high school, were recently arrested in Merrimack, NH, on charges of distributing the prescription painkillers Vicodin and Klonopin, as well as marijuana, to other high school students. In May, 75 students at San Diego State University were arrested in a massive bust where police confiscated vast quantities of illegal and prescription drugs, weapons, and $60,000 in cash. Among the coeds picked up: a criminal-justice major and a homeland-security grad student. Perhaps most disturbing, in February, 14 students at Castle View High School and Castle Rock Middle School in Colorado — one of them a 13-year-old seventh grader — were caught using or distributing Vicodin and oxycodone, acts which would be felonies if adults committed them.

None of these arrests surprises the experts. Pharmaceutical abuse has become so commonplace that it has filtered down to younger kids: Prescription drugs are now the number one illicit drug among 12- to 13-year-olds, according to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. And their own kid's arrest or even conviction is not the worst thing parents have to fear from this epidemic.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd