Pharm Parties: A Lethal Mix
Running Time: 24 minutes
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One of the newest and most frightening trends in teen drug experimentation are so-called “pharm parties”—where teens gather at someone’s home, drop an array of pharmaceuticals (like Vicodin, Oxycontin or Xanax) into a bowl, then consume handfuls of this dangerous “trail mix.” This eye-opening program allows viewers to hear from teens who nearly died after participating in pharm parties, as well as medical experts who identify the dangers of taking any medicines not specifically prescribed for you. Narcotics officers with first hand experience of pharm party overdoses give vivid descriptions of documented incidents. Viewers also learn what really happens when a human stomach is pumped as a last resort to avoid drug overdose. Program clearly demonstrates the extreme dangers of this rapidly escalating form of prescription drug abuse.
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
Video Librarian: 3 out of 4 Stars
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC): Notable Children's Video
Highly Recommended A pharm party refers to a recent social phenomenon among teens where a bowl of various pharmaceuticals are mixed together in a communal bowl and taken by handfuls. Usually the participants have no idea of what they are taking or in what combination. Emergency rooms are reporting increasing overdoses of bazaar combinations of drugs as a result.
This short video includes information from a narcotics educator, a pharmacy director and a registered nurse and reenactments of a pharm party with narration by two young people that once participated in this high risk behavior. One prior user said, “I’ve watched kids fall to the ground, blue, and their faces turn black.” Others describe their experiences with starting use, “…it is what all the cool kids were doing,”; getting access to pills through parents’ medicine cabinets and on the street; and the horrifying consequences that follow, including an interview of a mother whose son overdosed and died.
Other themes include the current drug taking culture that demands a fast remedy, the transition from prescription medication to street drugs, legal consequences, withdrawal, the early recovery process, and the appropriate use of prescription medication. Though some of the content of the DVD is emotional the information is presented factually. The reenactment of the pharm party is well done and the narrative straightforward and believable because it is delivered by previous participants.
The video is accompanied by a notebook with learning objectives, a summary of the DVD, student activities and fact sheets suitable for class handouts. It is suitable for junior high through young college level prevention programs and health classes.
- Sue F. Phelps, Washington State University, Vancouver WA
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)