Teen goes into cardiac arrest after misusing prescription pills - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Teen goes into cardiac arrest after misusing prescription pills

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GRANT COUNTY, WISCONSIN (KWWL) -- Misuse of prescription drugs on the rise with American teens. One teenage girl learning the dangers the hard way, nearly dying after taking several pills and going into cardiac arrest.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office says a 16-year-old girl from Cuba City, Wisconsin was given the pills by a 52-year-old man from Hazel Green, Wisconsin.  

On Wednesday morning in Cuba City, the 16-year old girl was found in her bedroom in full cardiac arrest. She was taken to Southwest Health Center in Platteville, and airlifted to a Madison hospital.

Authorities say hospital tests indicate the girl had taken benzodiazepines -- a class of anxiety medication which includes Valium, and methadone -- an opiate often used to treat heroin or morphine addiction.

Another girl told detectives she went with the 16-year-old to an apartment building on Church Street on Tuesday night to see a man named Robert Schwartz.  She had reportedly met Schwartz before.

Authorities say the second girl reports Schwartz gave the teen eight valium pills and eight pain killers he called "synthetic heroin".

Schwartz was arrested Wednesday afternoon and is now charged with delivery of schedule one or two narcotics to a minor and manufacturing or delivering prescription drugs. He faces up to 26 years in prison and-or up to $60,000 in fines (between both charges).

Drug abuse experts at Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center say the two drugs the teen took are the two most popular prescriptions among teens right now.

"I see it increasing even in the past three years I've been here. I've seen a bunch more. What we're seeing is that it is making a close second to marijuana," Adolescent Clinical Counselor Jean Cortez said.

Counselors say the rise comes from easy access and an attitude that pills aren't dangerous.

"I think teens are getting much more risk-taking in trying pills when they have no idea what the outcome can be because they think that because they're prescribed, they must be safer. In reality, they're deadly."

Authorities say the teenage girl has been released from the hospital, and no charges have been filed against the girl.

Schwartz was released on a $500 cash bond on Friday. He has a hearing scheduled for September 1.

According to the governor's office, a 2005 survey found that nearly one in five teens nationally say they've used prescription drugs to get high. One in ten say they've specifically used cough medicine to get high.

Cortez recommends these tips for preventing prescription drug abuse in teens:

1. Talk to kids about the dangers of prescription drugs. Use facts, not judgements.

2. Be alert; keep a close watch. Cortez says, "look for history of websites, check credit card receipts, missing medication from home."

3. Keep medications "under lock and key".

4. Set a good example yourself.

5. Educate other parents and talk to them about concerns.

6. Don't underestimate your influence.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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