Having experienced addiction in her own life, “Little House on the Prairie” star Melissa Gilbert made keeping others from going through similar struggles a priority. She was particularly focused on keeping children and teens from abusing drugs.
Gilbert talked about this crusade during a 2012 interview with Entertainment Tonight. Part of her efforts was to let people know that children and teens aren’t just abusing illegal drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana. She said they are also using prescription drugs obtained legally. Because they are more easily accessible than illegal drugs, prescription drugs are “even easier” for young people to abuse.
“(Prescription drugs) are actually even easier to abuse because they’re easier to get a hold of,” “The Little House on the Prairie” star explained. “If your parent, or you have a prescription at home, you can sneak in and take it. As opposed to having to find a dealer and going out and buying the drugs. There’s a lot less effort involved, I think, for kids.”
‘Little House on the Prairie Star’ Said ‘Pharm Parties’ are ‘Scary, Scary’
One disturbing trend involving prescription drug abuse among children and teens that especially concerned the “Little House on the Prairie” actress was a special type of gathering.
They have this other scary, scary thing that kids are doing today called ‘pharm parties.’ Starts with a ‘PH,'” Melissa Gilbert said. “And, they steal drugs from their parents and they get together. And, dump it in a bowl in the middle of a table and they just indiscriminately take pills.”
While participating in these “pharm parties,” the teens don’t know what drug they are ingesting.
“Viagra, Percocet – whatever is in (the bowl) – Ambien,” Gilbert said. “Not knowing what they’re taking or what their reacting to it is going to be.”
Gilbert also expressed shock at the behavior of the children and teens who participate in “pharm parties.”
“It’s extraordinary how far these kids will go,” she said.
Melissa Gilbert Also Shared Support for Parents of Kids Who Abuse Drugs
In addition to talking about drug abuse by children and teens, “Little House on the Prairie’s” Melissa Gilbert also offered words of encouragement for their parents.
“This problem is so pervasive. But, the thing that’s at the heart of it that gets me is that when a parent finds out that their child has a drug problem, they immediately feel like it’s just them,” Gilbert said. “And, there’s a lot of shame and you feel like a bad parent. And, you feel like it’s your fault.”
There are resources available, she said.
“It’s amazing to go to these websites and see the community of parents that are available to chat with online and know that you’re not alone and it’s not necessarily your fault,” Gilbert added.
You can watch Melissa Gilbert talk about preventing children and teens from abusing drugs with Entertainment Tonight below.