The following material contains mature subject matter and may not be suitable for young audiences.
Prescription Drug Abuse
The misuse and abuse of prescription medications is a growing problem among young adults. One in five teens in America reports to having used prescription drugs to get high, and more people abuse prescription medication than heroin, cocaine and ecstasy combined.
Current TV correspondent Mariana Van Zeller explains that Florida is the largest state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program.
"It means that people from all over the country are going to Florida. It's sort of become the source state of these prescription pills," Mariana says. "It's known as the Columbia of prescription pills."
Watch a clip from Current TV's documentary, The OxyContin Express, to see how easily available the pills are.
OxyContin Side Effects
• Nausea and vomiting
• Sedation and dizziness
• Sweating and weakness
• Respiratory depression
After alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, inhalants are the fourth most-abused substance by youth. By the time they reach the 8th grade, one in five students in America will have used common household products to get high.
Warning Signs of Inhalant Abuse
• Stains on body or clothing
• Runny nose and red eyes
• Loss of appetite
• Sores around the mouth
• Anxiety and irritability
Learn more about drug use warning signs.
Playing with Fire
On average, every 31 minutes, somebody in the United States is injured in a fire. A new trend among teens is lighting their clothes or body on fire, including the hair and groin, and using aerosol spray to create larger flames.
"I guarantee you, if you took these kids to a burn unit, and they witnessed second- and third-degree burns, that they would think twice," plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says.
As casual sex becomes more rampant among adolescents, the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and becoming pregnant greatly increases, as does the risk of suffering emotional consequences from engaging in sexual activities at such a young age. A group of teenage girls, whose ages range from 15 to 18: Jackie, Brooke, Jazzy, Nicole, Sky, Bronte and Nikki, sit down with youthologist Vanessa Van Petten for a candid discussion about their sex lives.
Another trend gaining traction among teens is the rainbow party, an oral sex party during which each girl wears a different shade of lipstick and each boy attempts to collect every shade. The girls discuss the pressure to perform oral sex in order to keep a boy's interest.
Oral sex is not a risk-free act. The human papillomavirus (HPV) can be passed through both oral and genital contact. The American Cancer Society states that in 2008, 39 percent of cases of oral cancers were linked to HPV. The Gardasil vaccine, intended to protect against four types of HPV, is currently available for girls and young women.
"There are so many consequences [to unprotected sex] for both men and women," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "You can contract everything from HIV to hepatitis, syphilis, herpes, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc. You can contract these vaginally, orally and anally.
"I cannot tell you, as a doctor, how frustrating it is," Dr. Lisa continues. "Even the things like chlamydia and gonorrhea that may be treatable; they can affect [a woman's] fertility by scarring your tubes, and when you finally want to have a child, you can't."
According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours for males and four or more drinks in the same time frame for females.
An estimated 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by youths under the age of 21 is in the form of binge drinking. Excess and binge drinking in a short period of time can lead to alcohol poisoning and death.
“The problem is that kids, at that age, oftentimes don’t know when to say when,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
• Slow or irregular breathing
• Cold or clammy skin
• Blue lips
• Low body temperature
If you see anyone experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately.