Deadly "pharming" trend finds Valdosta - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deadly "pharming" trend finds Valdosta

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

September 24, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - An alarming teenage trend is emerging.  It's called 'pharming' and it can have deadly results.

Law Enforcers call it a 'pharm party.' It starts when teens raid their parents medicine cabinets for prescription drugs.

"Everybody goes to the party, takes the medications and dumps them into a bowl. Everybody at the party then grabs a handful of medicine and takes them," says Captain J.D. Yeager with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office.

The mixture is often washed down with alcohol. The teens do it for a high but it's a cocktail that can be deadly.

"The impact on the system can be extremely significant, ranging from disorientation, hallucinations, seizures, cardiac arrests, stroke and death," says Pharmacist Michael Hicks.

Investigators say a teen from Lowndes High overdosed on the cocktail earlier this month. Another overdosed at the Valdosta Mall.

They worry it's a trend that will continue to spread.  "We've seen it all over the country happening and a lot of kids have lost their lives over it. So we need to be real cognizant of what's going on," Yeager says.

But they say it's one that's also easy to prevent.

"Keep up with what's in your medicine cabinets. Or lock it up," Yeager says.

"The medicines need to be kept in a locked box. Parents should keep the key at all times. There's no reason that a minor should need to get to their medications without their parent's assisting them," Hicks adds.

They urge all parents to take these simple steps before pharming turns fatal.

Law enforcers and pharmacists warn that over the counter drugs can be just as dangerous as prescriptions drugs. They say any and all medicines should be under lock and key.