It's hard to find a picture of Jacob Fetchik that doesn't feature a big grin. He made friends easily, was active in youth baseball leagues and could make just about anyone laugh, his family said.
But Jacob also made mistakes. He used marijuana, moved on to pills and was ordered into a drug rehab program when he was 16.
Jacob worked hard to clean himself up. He planned to return to Saguaro High School this semester, get a job, buy a truck decked out with nice sound equipment.
But on Dec. 21, just eight days after getting out of the drug program, Jacob was at a friend's house. His friend had pills - his mother's prescription for methadone - which Jacob used one last time.
"Jacob didn't expect to die," said his mother, Sharon Mann. "I have no doubt that he thought he was coming home."
Pill use has become more prevalent over the past few years, which is especially dangerous because teens can get these drugs in the house, according to experts. But parents aren't recognizing the problem before it's too late.
Cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana are still the "big three" drugs police cope with, said Scottsdale police Sgt. James Dorr, one of the officers who oversees the department's school resource officers.
But from cigarettes, booze and pot, teens move on to drugs conveniently located in the medicine cabinet.
"You don't have to go outside and look for drugs. When certain pills give off certain qualities like street drugs, it's easy," said Stephanie Kreiling, development manager for drug prevention program Community Bridges.
For instance, when not taken according to a physician's instructions, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are like legal speed, giving effects similar to cocaine, Kreiling said. OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan are narcotics, as is heroin.
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Kids know these things and are getting pills in the house, Kreiling said. That's especially dangerous when teens raid medicine cabinets, take pills to parties over the weekend and wash them down with alcohol.
Prescription pill abuse was even featured during one memorable ad during Sunday's Super Bowl television broadcast featuring a drug dealer upset that home medicine cabinets were stealing his business.
The ad, which was put out by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, is prominently featured on the group's Web site along with information on identifying whether your teen is using.
Since pills are regulated by doctors, "people think that they're safer, our society as a whole kind of looks at them as a safer drug," Dorr said.
"We're more likely to find high-schoolers in possession of pills right now than anything else," he said. "We're twice as likely to be dealing with pills right now as we are to be dealing with coke or meth."
The Arizona Youth Survey, a biannual survey of teen drug use, first asked specifically about prescription drugs in 2006. Almost 21 percent of high school seniors in Maricopa County reported using prescription drugs at some point.
Another 18.2 percent said they had used sedatives, including sleeping pills, and 8.9 percent had used stimulants like Ritalin or Dexedrine.
Overall, self-reported drug use among teens has decreased between 2002 and 2006, and schools are getting better at catching the offenders. But there's a gap between the teens who say they have used drugs and how many get caught.
Scottsdale Unified School District officials said the district caught 178 students violating the district's drug policy in the 2006-07 school year, up from 120 in 2003-04. There were 66 incidents reported so far this year.
The district and police attribute that to a better working relationship between law enforcement and schools and awareness training.
"We're taking our blinders off," said Milissa Sackos, district student services director. "We're looking at this as a reality and addressing this as an issue head-on."
Rates of drug problems are about the same at each of Scottsdale's comprehensive high schools, ranging from 43 incidents of drug possession or distribution at Desert Mountain High School last year - 2 percent of the school's population - to 12 incidents at Chaparral, or1 percent of students.
SURVEY: USE IS DOWN
But those are just the kids getting caught. According to the 2006 Arizona Youth Survey, 51.2 percent of 12th-grade students in Maricopa County reported using drugs at any point in their lifetimes and 26.6 percent said they had used drugs in the past 30 days.
That's down from 55.1 percent of Maricopa County high school seniors who reported using drugs in 2002.
And according to the experts, many parents don't keep up with those drug trends.
Mann and Jacob's father, Michael Fetchik, said they are recovering drug addicts. Mann has been clean for 10 years, Fetchik for two. They said they didn't think their kids would try meth after seeing the health problems it gave their father.
But they also weren't expecting pills.
"You'd think that us, being recovering drug addicts, we'd see more," Mann said. "Methadone is another level. It's what you use to get off heroin."
More than 210 people came to Jacob's funeral, but a lot of his friends weren't allowed to go because Jacob's death was from drug use. That frustrated his brother, Josh, not only because it's "as if you don't need to mourn him," but also because those kids could be using.
"A lot of those kids are probably depressed now," Josh said. "(Parents) need to talk to their kids. They don't need to deny the problem."
"(Jacob) wasn't a bad kid. I'm not going to say he was a great kid, because he had his problems," Josh said. "He was a normal kid, and they need to realize their normal kids could be doing this, too."
Parent Drug Awareness forums in Scottsdale schools, put on by Community Bridges. These meetings are for parents only and detail recent drug trends and how to identify drug use. A full list is available at http://ex.susd.org/sheavlin/Drug%20Awareness%20Workshops.htm" class="content-link" target= "525">http://ex.susd.org/sheavlin/Drug%20Awareness%20Workshops.htm
National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: www.TheAntiDrug.com