National Teen Drug Report - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

National Teen Drug Report

WASHINGTON - According to a national study fewer teens are using illegal drugs and alcohol, but more are using legal drugs, like prescription medication and over the counter medicine.

The study came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  It found more teens are abusing over the counter medicine, like cough syrup, which can make a person feel high if taken in high doses.

Benton County Sheriff Joe Lusignan said marijuana and alcohol are the most used drugs among teens. 

Gary Somdahl has been a drug counselor for almost 20 years.  He also said marijuana and alcohol are the most popular in the Tri-Cities, but has also seen a large local increase in abuse of over the counter medicine.

Somdahl said, "We've had kids overdose on them and ended up in area hospitals, near death but lucky they were able to get treatment."

The national study found that one in 14 high school seniors reported recently using cold medicine to get high.

Somdahl said, "A lot of young peoples' first usage comes right out of the medicine cabinet in their house."

Lusignan said, "Since it's sold over the counter there's the perception that it's not that dangerous, but in truth it's really is and kids are mixing them with other drugs and that is inherently dangerous."

The national study also found that more teens are using prescription pain medicine.