Editor's Note: You have seen the headlines from stars like Heath Ledger to Michael Jackson, but America's pill problem is growing in places far away from the spotlight. A new study says prescription drug overdoses were up by two thirds, from 1999 to 2006. Today in our original series "Addicted," Carol Costello shows us it can be deadly, not only for the addict, but for the doctor who comes between the addict and his fix.
By Brian Rokus, CNN
Louisville, Kentucky (CNN) – Detective Steve Watts is locking up another accused pain pill addict. But he's seen this suspect before.
She's back in handcuffs for the second time in less than a week. The charge this time, like it was just four days ago, is fraudulently obtaining prescription medication.
For Watts and the other detectives of the Louisville Police Department Prescription Drug Diversion Squad, it will be one of 500 to 600 arrests they make each year.
Even with arrests nearly every day, "We're just scratching the surface," according to Watts. The number of investigations the unit initiates is up 148 percent compared with a year ago.
It can be surprisingly easy to get prescription narcotics that are highly addictive, and they're highly profitable on the street. FULL STORY
(CNN) – In our special series, "Addicted," we brought you Melissa's story. Like many kids her age, she experimented with drugs. Not what you'd typically think – street drugs – but prescription pills right out of her family medicine cabinet.
Stories like hers happen every day and the problem is growing. The latest government figures show abuse of some of the strongest types of prescription painkillers is up 400 percent over the decade. Deaths from these drugs are up 160 percent over just five years.
Today, the White House is launching a new drug strategy focusing on prevention and treatment. It also gives real attention to prescription drug abuse. The director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, joined us on Tuesday's American Morning.
(CNN) – The White House today is set to release a new strategy to battle America's drug problem, shifting the focus from law enforcement to prevention and treatment. But that can be tricky, because the problem isn't always illegal drugs.
Across the nation, more and more teens are using prescription pills and over-the-counter medicines to get high. In our ongoing series, "Addicted," we're following the story of one teen, named Melissa. She nearly lost her life, and everything she used to get high could be right inside your medicine cabinet.
(CNN) – If you have teenagers, the list of things to worry about seems to grow longer every day. It can be even more stressful if you have a teenage daughter.
Research shows more girls than ever are taking anti-depressants, using alcohol and even drinking and driving. Technology is adding new problems with things like Internet bullying and sexting.
Dr. Leonard Sax has a new book on all of this, "Girls on the Edge." Our Kiran Chetry had the chance to talk with him and ask, "Why are so many teenage girls in such trouble?"
In March, we gave you a frightening look inside an 18-year-old's battle with a dangerous cocktail of prescription drugs that nearly ended her life. Today, our Kiran Chetry goes back to visit Melissa to see whether or not she's serious about getting clean. Tomorrow on American Morning, Melissa takes us inside her new world of sobriety. We'll show you the challenges she faces – old habits and old friendships that could pull her back into addiction.
By Kiran Chetry, CNN
(CNN) – We first met 18-year-old Melissa a month ago. She’s a self-described addict of prescription drugs.
“My mother's prescribed Xanax. … I began taking them as well, and um, it was just kind of like an immediate comfort from them,” she says.
Melissa and her best friend, who didn't want us to use her name, told us snorting crushed up pills was a daily habit.
“I wouldn't really say that I'm addicted, like I've been on and off.”
Melissa's cousin Adam, now sober, says he overdosed 15 times before getting clean.
“It's just like, you need it, and you don't want to do anything else and you don't care about anything else and you spend every last penny you have on it, just to have that feeling and for me that was immediate,” he says.
Editor's Note: Addiction to painkillers is fueling criminal behavior, from fraudulent prescriptions to murder. On Wednesday's American Morning, see how authorities are trying to stop people who aren't able to stop themselves.
(CNN) – Prescription drug abuse has grabbed headlines with the high-profile deaths of celebrities like Corey Haim, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and Michael Jackson. But the epidemic is not limited to Hollywood.
In the second part of the special series "Addicted," our Kiran Chetry talks candidly with three young people about how drug abuse became a way of life for them.