Prescription for Disaster: Young Adults

Inside the Minds of Young People

Kelly Osbourne has a candid conversation with young adults about their prescription drug use. They tell her how they began taking the pills.

 

"I started doing prescription pills, I'd say, junior or senior year, and that's pretty much what put me through the ringer," says 21-year-old Kelsie. "OxyContin is a big one."

"I had surgery when I was a freshman in high school, and my doctor prescribed me Valium and Vicodin," says Anthony, 18. "After that, I kind of liked the feeling."

"I've tried Somas, and I've had a Vicodin before, and I was never one of those people who liked the feeling. I wasn't in love with it," says Sophie, 18.

JT, 19, shares, "I've messed with Valium and Vicodin. I've done pretty much every drug besides meth and crack.

Kelly asks the group, "What did it make you feel like when you were taking it?"

 

"It made you feel, like, accomplished, kind of," Anthony says.

"We just like that euphoric feeling. It makes you feel like part of something and like you belong," Kelsie says.

[AD]JT adds that you have to drink a lot to get drunk, and smoking may affect your lungs, whereas with pills, they're easy to take, and you're high for the night.

"If you take it at school, it makes the class go by in one second," Anthony says.

"If you're an addict, you're always down, unless you're on the pills. They bring you back to normal," JT says. "You're chasing the dragon all day. You want that initial feeling the first time you did it, that warm, good, Jacuzzi-in-your-bloodstream feeling. That's the pinnacle of what you're desiring."

"Where did you guys get all of your drugs?" Kelly asks.

"People would go into their parents' medicine cabinet," Anthony says.

"There are a lot of ‘dirty doctors,' I guess you would say, that you can go to with, like, this tragic accident that happened, and you hurt your back, and they just write you a prescription," Kelsie reveals. "It's really that easy to get."

[AD]"What is the scariest thing that's happened to you?" Kelly probes.

Kelsie says that one of her boyfriends overdosed. "He was on the floor unconscious. His lips were purple. He was pale," she recalls. "I count my blessings every day that I woke up when I did, and I called the cops, and I saved his life."

JT says one of his friends died. "I found him on my couch dead in the morning, with his eyes in the back of his head," he shares. "That's when I realized this isn't a joke, I could kill myself."

 

 

Read Dr. Phil's blog about the teen drug epidemic.

When the tape ends, Dr. Phil asks Kelly, "What struck you most about this conversation?"

"That when I asked them how many of their friends have either tried pills or are using pills right now, and they said 100 percent," she says, adding that it's worse now than when she was younger. "There has been such a social taboo put around all other drugs except for prescription pills, because they come from a doctor, and people look at doctors as doing good. They don't really see it as doing any harm. It's become almost like a joke."

[AD]Dr. Phil asks Kelly why she started abusing prescription pills.

Kelly recalls her first experience with prescription pills and why she liked them.

Dr. Phil introduces former child star Jeremy Jackson, who played Hobie Buchanan on Baywatch from ages 11 to 18. During that time, he became addicted to prescription pills. Now clean for nine years and a high school mentor, he shares how he started taking pills. "I was always looking for outside substances to make me feel better," he says. "Once I discovered it, it was all downhill from there."

Dr. Phil notes that Jeremy broke his nose nine times, and after surgery, he was given pain medicine.

"Darvocet was what kind of started it," Jeremy says. "I called the doctor and said to him, 'I lost the prescription.' I told my mom to call the doctor because someone stole the prescription. I stockpiled them up, and I was taking nine at a time when you're supposed to be taking a couple."

Kelly adds that besides being socially acceptable, pills are easy to hide.

"Does the celeb factor figure into this?" Dr. Phil asks.

[AD]"I think it's double-sided in the sense that I think that when you're so young, and you have so much responsibility on you, whereas if you don't show up, people don't make their livelihood, that that pressure gets insane," Kelly says, adding that sometimes handlers give celebrities drugs to keep them going or to shut them up, so they don't have to deal with it.

"There's pressure on our kids today," Dr. Phil says.