August 10, 2009

20 percent of U.S. teens ‘lend’ drugs

U.S. researchers find teens -- like adults -- borrow or lend prescription drugs and are unaware of the dangers.

Lead author Richard Goldsworthy of Development of of Academic Edge, Inc., in Bloomington, Ind., and Chris Mayhorn of North Carolina State University interviewed 592 English or Spanish speaking, black and white suburban and urban 12- to 17-year-olds.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that addition to the danger of unforeseen side effects, prescription sharing can lead to delayed or suboptimal care because teens postpone medical treatment.

The study also found that among the one in five teens sharing drugs, 32.4 percent eventually went to see a physician, but often did not reveal having taken a borrowed medication.

Earlier research found almost 40 percent of U.S. adults lend or borrow prescription drugs, Goldsworthy said.

However, prior to our study, no one had asked adolescents how often they shared prescription medications, which meds they shared and what some of the outcomes were, Goldsworthy said.