Nineteen-year-old Alicia Clouse started experimenting prescription pills and marijuana when she was in the eighth grade. Eventually, the Florida teen was taking up to 30-40 Xanax a day, ABC 7 News reports.
But Clouse's story isn't uncommon. According to The Partnership For A Drug-Free America, one in six US teens has admitted to using a prescription drug to alter their mood or get high.
"I was looking at other people and seeking that happiness I saw when they were high," Clouse told ABC News.
Clouse spoke up about the existence of "pill parties," at which students would take unlabeled pills from a large bowl full of drugs, including Xanax, Oxycotin and Ecstasy. And even on a day-to-day basis, Clouse explains, it was easy to access prescription drugs.
"I'd get them from kids in the neighborhood, or from kids at school," she said to ABC.
Watch the video above and head over to ABC News to read the original story.
Now, Clouse and other local teens are getting sober at Southwest Florida Teen Challenge, a year-long residential program that involves mentoring, one-on-one counseling, and Bible-based Life Skills training.
With an estimated 2,500 teens aged 12-17 abusing a prescription pain reliever for the first time each day, services like Teen Challenge are stepping in to provide a road back to recovery. In Ontario, Canada, a new intensive outpatient program called Teen Matrix uses the participation of parents and other supportive figures in the teen's life as a strategy for recovery.