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Ambien Abuse on Rise Among Teens

Ambien Abuse on Rise Among Teens

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingThere's a health warning this afternoon about the latest craze on the party scene. Young people are getting high, not on an illegal drug, but on one of the most popular sleeping medications in this country.

Ambien is the number one sleeping pill in the US with more than 2-billion dollars in sales last year. While the medication is safe when used properly, there are serious health risks when it's misused or abused.

On the street it's called A-minus, Zombie pills or Tic-Tacs. And at 5 dollars a pill, teens are popping Ambien for relaxation, euphoria, and hallucinations.

It's the changing face of teenage drug use. While alcohol and cigarette use have reached new lows, the number of high school students abusing prescription drugs is on the rise. In a recent government survey, 7percent of high school students reported taking sedatives for recreational use in 2005. That's up from 2.8 percent in 1992.

One reason for the jump? Experts say these pills are easy to get -- on the street, from doctors, parents and friends, or on the internet.

It's hard to imagine that kids are getting high on something that puts you to sleep. Kids work to fight the affects of the drug. Some mix it with alcohol to heighten the impact, but doing so brings big risks.

There's always a risk of passing out and hitting your head, but memory loss, blackouts and date rape are real concerns too. People still do things, they just don't remember and that's when people can take advantage of them


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