The Dangers of ‘Pharm’ Parties

Ask the Experts by Beth Walsh-Sahutske, MA LPC

Q: Our family has two teenagers now and we are very careful to monitor our liquor cabinet and be aware of drugs and alcohol. I’ve heard about “Pharm Parties.” What are these and what do I need to watch for with my children?

A: I am always glad to hear that parents are informed and aware of substance abuse trends as even very well behaved kids may experiment. A popular trend has been pilfering prescriptions from the medicine cabinets of friends and family.

Today we are a pill society. Everyday advertising stresses that any ailment can be cured with a magic pill and it is safe. The logic among teens is that it is okay to share medication and “I don’t do drugs” if I use prescription or over the counter drugs.

Worse is that the internet has many websites that promote the use of legal and illegal drugs. These sites are misleading giving the impression that this drug use is safe. They neglect to tell the whole truth about the dangers of drug misuse and abuse.

Parents should keep all medications, prescription and over the counter, under lock and key. Prescription medications expire one year after the date of the script and should be considered expired when you are finished using the medication from an injury or illness. Over the counter medications have an expiration date stamped on the package.

Take unused, not needed, or expired prescription drugs to the Macomb County Health Department. Call (586) 466-7923 or visit the website: for more information about how to safely dispose of unused medication.

Beth Walsh-Sahutske chairs the counseling department at Grosse Pointe South High School and is a member of the Board of Directors at the Family Center of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods.

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