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Teen Prescription Drug Use Increasing

September 10, 2008

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in teenagers according to a report posted Tuesday. Almost 7% of teens are using prescription drugs that were not prescribed for them.

According to Dr. Li-Tzy Wu of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, one third of these adolescents are dependent on, or are abusing these drugs.

Abusing drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percodan is more common with teens, with one report discovering that 13 percent of high school seniors had used painkillers that were not prescribed to them.

This is an alarming increase compared to about 6 percent or seniors in the early 1990s.

To track and study teenage drug use more effective and understand the increase in numbers, Wu and colleagues evaluated 2,675 adolescents that were 12 to17 years old. These students participated in the 2005-2006 National Surveys of Drug Use and Health.

According to the survey, almost 7 percent of the teens reported the use of a prescription painkiller in the past year.

According to Wu and the study, “Dependence on prescription pain relievers can occur without abuse, and sub threshold dependence deserves to be investigated further for consideration in major diagnostic classification symptoms.”

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