Till The Cows Come Home…This Ain’t Your Momma’s Farm Party
When young people talk about a “Pharm Party,” they are not talking about a sleepover in the pasture or at someone’s barn out on the family farm. Pharm Parties, also known as “Skittles Parties” or “Punch Bowl Parties” are making a comeback in popularity as prescription drugs are readily available and easily accessible from the family’s medicine cabinet.
Admission Required To Pharm Parties
Admission to Pharm Parties is typically required and is heavily influenced through peer pressure. You can’t get in unless you bring something with you to share. Attendees are typically required to bring prescription (preferred) or over the counter medications that are added to and mixed in a large bowl for everyone to be able to share. The term “Pharm” is short for pharmaceuticals, which can include any number of drugs like ADHD medications such as Aderall or Ritalin; strong tranquilizers like Xanax; even powerful painkillers like Vicodin or Oxycontin. Drugs like Zoloft, Prozac, Cialis, Wellbutrin and other commonly advertised drugs are added to the mix of pills collected and taken with varying amounts of alcohol at these drug induced parties.
Lethal Trail Mix
Party goers often refer to the potentially lethal concoction as “Trail Mix.” Trail Mix, usually served up in large bowls or baggies, is handed out to guests the same way someone would serve snacks and drinks at a cocktail party. The combination of alcohol with a variety of various, unknown drugs often leads to severe medical emergencies with dire consequences. When patients and medical professionals have no idea what exactly was ingested, the ability to treat common overdoses effectively becomes even more dangerous. Some treatments to try and reverse the effects of one type of drug may have a negative or even lethal effect being combined with other types of drugs that were ingested.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately, pharm parties, skittles parties or punch bowl parties are not as rare as parents would hope. Directors of teen drug programs say that many teens admit to having participated in these types of parties on a regular basis. Hospitals are reporting higher than average numbers of teens admitted to the emergency room with cocktails of unknown medications and alcohol swirling in their bloodstream.. Despite years of urging families to rid themselves of hoarded prescription medications or to at least keep them under lock and key, kids are still finding the family medicine cabinet to be an easy source of all kinds of drugs – either from their own home or from family member’s or friend’s homes.
Parental vigilance has never been more important. Parents should secure any and all prescriptions and over the counter medications that must be kept in the home. This includes their child’s ADHD medications which is widely sought after on the streets, in schools and at parties. Parents should periodically purge their medicine cabinet of unused prescription drugs. Contact your local pharmacy or law enforcement office to find out how to best dispose of unwanted medications. Keeping track of all medications including over-the-counter drugs that are being taken and/or stored in the home can help quickly identify problems.
Lastly, talk to your kids. Ask your child if they have ever heard of a pharm, skittles or punch bowl party and ask them to explain to you what it is. Talk about the dangers of prescription medications, mixing drugs with alcohol and the very real possibility of addiction or even death with the wrong combination.
If you believe that your child may be experimenting with drugs or alcohol, get them tested by a professional who can conduct an accurate test and provide you with support and guidance on how best to proceed in helping to educate and help your child. Drug and alcohol abuse are very real issues affecting our pre-teens, teens and young adults. Early intervention and assistance has proven to have the best chance at preventing lifelong addictive behaviors and problems.