Meth Losing Steam To Prescription Pills

August 19, 2013

Methamphetamine use is down, and so are the negative advertisements.

The focus has shifted from meth to prescription pills, according to Glenn Cummings, the west regional director of Outpatient Services for Terros, a Phoenix behavioral health group.

"The availability of the prescribed medication is so much more available, every hosuehold probably has something that can probably be abusive that's sitting in the medicine cabinet," Cummings said. 

And easy access means more scrutiny. Arizona law requires products like cold medicine to be locked behind the counter. The consumer must also give personal information such as their home address when buying.

Mazda Shirazi is the medical director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center within the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. He said the attention on meth has decreased. 

"What you're getting is another group of stimulants coming in and replacing methamphetamines, because again, the heavy scrutiny that was applied to methamphetamines and to the precursors that was required to produce them," Shirazi said. 

One study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse says meth use over the last three years is down to less than 1 percent for high schoolers, but Shirazi cautions that stimulant use in general, like prescription pills, is still rampant.

Updated 8/19/2013 at 10:55 a.m.

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