To Michael Gomes and his friends at Granite Bay High School, booze and pot seemed almost quaint. The powerful painkiller OxyContin was their drug of choice.
Kayla Platsis of Elk Grove and her friends took oxy, too. At school and work. At concerts. At rave parties.
"It's just a little pill," said Platsis, 23. "You take it, and you're high in 15 minutes. The high is amazing. It feels like someone is hugging you from the inside out."
OxyContin, a highly addictive narcotic that doctors prescribe to treat chronic pain, has hooked the "Just Say No" generation. Across the country, it has become a party drug favored by young, often middle-class people, and the trend is exploding in Northern California.
"This is a generation of kids that said 'No' to marijuana and heroin," said Jin Tanaka, a special agent in Sacramento with the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in the California Department of Justice. "We didn't teach them about prescription medications like OxyContin."
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