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Teen Health: Pain Pill Abuse By Teens Increases  Previous Next

Pain Pill Abuse By Teens Increases

by: Amy Otis, RN

Prescription Pain Pill Abuse By Teens Increases

A survey of more than 50,000 teens nationwide reveals changes in the reported use of illicit drugs. The annual survey, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse and conducted by the University of Michigan, shows a decrease in the use of marijuana and cigarettes, yet an increase in the non-medicinal use of prescription pain medications, especially opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Vicodin ES).

While overall reported lifetime illicit drug use declined for 10th graders, and for 12th -grade students, the use of prescription painkillers has increased.

In 2005, 9.5% of 12th grade students reported using hydrocodone or oxycodone for nonmedical purposes.

Besides the problem of narcotic painkillers, abuse of combination medications (alcohol or tylenol) can cause liver toxicity.

For Families: Encourage teenagers to remain drug-free, and learn the warning signs of substance abuse. Talk to your kids about drugs without making them feel interrogated. Get to know who your teen’s friends are. Parents should restrict access to pain medication and store them safely in the home - especially away from young children.

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