Prescription Drug Abuse: Report Calls Parent Pill Popping An 'Epidemic'

05/14/2012 05:39 pm ET | Updated May 14, 2012

First, it was valium that the Rolling Stones famously dubbed "Mother's Little Helper." Then, the New York Times reported that sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta were the drug of choice for women -- the newspaper reported that 1 in 3 were hooked. Now, according to Fox 5, many suburban moms are taking Adderall, a medication commonly used to treat ADHD -- and some are getting it from their kids.

"Desperate Housewives" took this on in the show's first season, when Lynette used Ritalin to turn into a "supermom," feeling like she was the only mother who couldn't handle the responsibilities of being a parent (you can watch the scene below). But the dramatic plot line isn’t only fodder for television.

Fox 5 profiled two suburban moms who admitted to prescription drug addiction. In an interview, the women (who had never met each other before) agreed that it is likely a neighborhood-wide problem and both doubt they are the only mothers abusing meds. Their assumption may not be so far off -– in a CDC study, 30 percent of women said they've shared prescription medication with others.

One mother, identified as "Sara," struggled with drug addiction -– marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth and alcohol –- from the time she was 13. When she had her son at age 32, she had been clean for two years. Then when her son was about 8 or 9, doctors diagnosed him with ADHD and prescribed Adderall. Fox 5 reports that Sara took one of her son's pills, and immediately wanted more.

"Since I was an addict, and I liked speed, I took one of his pills and liked it. I spent the next couple months lying to the doctors saying I had spilled his medicine, so I could get more," she told the news station.

It is not only ADHD drugs that are being misused by parents, and not only children that are the "source." The other woman interviewed, Katherine, 52, turned to Oxycontin when she "couldn't cope" after the birth of her third child, Fox 5 reports. She herself grew up in an upper-middle class family and didn't start using drugs until age 41, overwhelmed, she says, by the fact that two of her children have special needs.

She asked her neighbor for pain pills and became hooked.

Both mothers have now been clean for a decade but fear that countless other parents are struggling with addiction and hiding their secrets.

In October, Dr. Drew Pinsky told The Huffington Post that teen prescription drug abuse is quickly on the rise and parents should be locking, or at least monitoring, their medicine cabinets. But, Will Wooton, a drug counselor who primarily deals with teens at Pacific Treatment Services in California estimates that 15 percent of parents who bring their kids into his office are addicts as well.

As over-prescription of Adderall and other ADHD medications continue to be the center of debate between doctors, Wooton warns that, "both parents and children have to take more responsibly to learn exactly what they are putting in their body because some of these medicines are extremely addictive."

Watch the clip below where Lynette breaks down and admits she's addicted to her child's medication.

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