More teens overdosing on prescription drugs

February 9, 2012 8:06:16 AM PST
Teens throughout Houston are being arrested or dying as a result of drug use, specifically prescription drugs. Over the past few weeks, we've reported incidents at Angleton and Cleveland high schools, among others, of several students being arrested for using or distributing prescription drugs. Tragically, some have died.

"He was a very good kid," said James Mason, whose son died from prescription drugs.

Seventeen years of life are racing through the mind of Mason.

"He was my youngest child. He was my hunting buddy," he said.

David had so much to live for and was far too young to die.

"When they told me he was gone, I just, I just couldn't believe it," Mason said.

The question was why? What would take such a promising young man?

"It didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary with me. That's why I was in so much shock when I found him," Mason said.

David was found dead on a Sunday morning just before the family was headed to church.

"This is where I found him in his bed. I pulled him out of his bed and did CPR right here," Mason said. "I did everything I could. I was frantic. I was in shock."

And just as shocking was the fact that David died from a widely available prescription drug called Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a pain reliever patch, but like many prescription drugs, teens figure out ways to use them to get high. In David's case, he somehow ingested the gel in the patch, which is 80 times the power of morphine. He went to sleep that night and never woke up.

It's one tragic story of dozens in Houston. Teens are dying in record numbers using prescription drugs.

"Kids getting whacked out of their mind and just reckless ingestion of chemicals," said a former drug user we're calling "Johnny."

Johnny knows too many people to expose himself, he says.

"You've done them, all haven't you?" we asked Johnny.

"Oh yeah, I've pretty much done everything under the sun," he said.

Johnny's a popular but former, he says, Houston teenage peddler, pusher and user of drugs.

"You continue to go to the parties. You see the high school kids out there. What kinds of designer drugs are they taking today?" we asked him.

"They're just taking it because the end result it will make them feel better," he said.

"What's the wake up call to parents? What do you want parents to know?" we asked.

"That anyone and everybody could be using this drug, could dealing this drug. Parents should be worried because the availability, the cheapness of them -- 10 bucks a pop, for the experimental chemicals or whatever, acid," Johnny said.

"This is cheap allowance money that can get them high?" we asked.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah, it's paper route money," Johnny said.

The frightening reality is that these prescription drugs are so easy to get a hold of. The drug David died from was believed to have been stolen by friends from a grandmother's cabinet.

"You understand people are dying because of this?" we asked Johnny.

"Yea," he said.

"Kids are dying?" we asked.

"Kids, yeah," he replied.

"You know the users, you know the pushers, you've been at the parties. Why is it you don't expose all of this?" we asked.

"I don't know. I'm not proud of it," he said.

For Mason, exposing his son's drug pushers is an eventual priority. But for now, he just wants to make it through another week.

"That boy made a difference, he made a difference in us," Mason said.

He's still trying desperately to understand the unthinkable, the death of a son by prescription drugs.

"My son is with Jesus and I have that peace, I have that peace," Mason said.

It is such a tragic loss. The strong advice from the father, however, is to talk to your teenagers, explain the dangers and dead-end road of drugs. Even the seemingly best of kids are getting involved with prescription drugs.

For more information, visit the Teen Drug Abuse website or the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.