Drug Substituted for Alcohol by Underage Persons

Klonopin, a prescription drug, has become an alternative to alcohol consumption by many young people, according to police.

With  increasing crackdowns on the availability of alcoholic beverages to youth, they  increasingly turn to alternatives.  Although readily available, Klonopin can be very dangerous, especially when taken with certain other substances.

“The schools have been very effective in tackling the problems of the use of alcohol at school functions” reports Police Chief Fred Ryan of Arlington, Virginia. To counter that effectiveness, young people are turning  to drugs like Klonopin, which is difficult to detect.

Similarly, although marijuana might affect behavior much longer than alcohol and be much more dangerous for driving and other activities, it is much safer in that people are very rarely arrested for driving while drugged.

Drug counselor and recovering addict, Allison Whitney of Atlanta, says that she got into several crashes as a teenager because of smoking pot while driving. Although she would get pulled over for erratic driving, police would always let her go because she passed breathalyzer tests.

Ms. Whitney says marijuana is especially attractive to teenagers because it’s easier to hide than alcohol, a person can get high faster than they can get intoxicated, and parents don’t detect marijuana. In addition, recent nation-wide research has found it easier for young people to buy marijuana than beer because of increased enforcement of laws against the sale of alcoholic beverages to underage persons.

Klonopin must now be added to the growing list of alternatives to alcoholic beverages that includes Ativan, Oxycontin, Valium, Xanax, Librium and Vicodin, among others. 


  • Masterson, Les. Drug is a substitute for alcohol. Arlington Advocate, February 2, 2006; Durbin, Dee-Ann. Government targets teens in effort to reduce drugged driving. Associated Press, December 2, 2004; The National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse VII: Teens, Parents and Siblings. Conducted by QEV Analytics Interviews for the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (www.casacolumbia.org). For earlier study, see http://csdp.org/ads/children.htm