(NaturalNews) Making some extra cash by mowing a neighbor's lawn or setting up a lemonade stand is apparently not as profitable for today's urban youth as reselling FDA-approved drug pills at school. Two 12-year-old boys at a Philadelphia-area middle school were recently caught doing just this, having stolen Ambien (zolpidem) sleeping pills from their parents in order to sell them for 10 bucks a pop to fellow students.
But they didn't get very far, according to CBS Philly, as teachers who observed the activity quickly reported it to police. Now, the two boys, as well as a third who reportedly bought the "controlled substance" from the others, are facing charges for selling and possessing prescription pharmaceuticals without permission from the government.
The incident occurred at Riverside Township Middle School in Riverside, New Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia. One of the boys had stolen about 15 pills of Ambien from a family member with the intent of selling them, which is a form of drug trafficking. He and the other boy confessed to taking the pills, as did the third boy to whom they sold a pill. That third boy is being charged with possession of a controlled substance.
"They weren't familiar with what the medication was," stated school resource officer Anthony Congemi to CBS Philly. "They didn't know how they would react to it."
Ambien is a powerful sedative drug that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Its side effects include dizziness, loss of coordination, nausea, muscle pain and light-headedness. Ambien is also known to trigger unusual behaviors like "sleep eating," where a person wakes up in the middle of the night and eats without recollection.
FDA admits Ambien can cause a person to do crazy things while sleeping, with no recollection
An official FDA warning, in fact, explains that Ambien may cause a person to "get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity" without being conscious of it. The next morning, says the FDA, that same person "may not remember that [they] did anything during the night," a frightening situation that could lead to serious harm or even death.
"The abuse of prescription drugs, the age is getting younger and younger all the time," stated Riverside Township Police Lt. Louis Fisher to reporters about the incident. Though he claims to have never before caught 12-year-olds selling prescription drugs, the attitude amongst young people about their use is becoming progressively more fearless, he says.
Police say the incident was likely an isolated one, but parents throughout the district are outraged that they did not receive notification about the incident. Many prescription drugs are far more dangerous and addictive than illicit street drugs, yet the school district apparently did not feel that the issue was as pertinent as it might have been had the drugs not been FDA-approved.
"He just gave me the same thing over and over again, [that] it was an isolation situation and we didn't have to notify the parents," stated one upset parent about her conversation with the school's principal. "But it wasn't an isolated incident[;] the police had said [they] don't know how many [pills] were handed out or sold."