Reuters (5/8, Pittman) reports on a study published online May 7 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine based on two surveys of teenagers asking about their use of prescription painkillers. The surveys found that 12.9 percent of those surveyed reported using the painkillers for non-medical reasons. They also found that those who did use the painkillers were also more likely to use marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. They generally had been prescribed the medicines for a medical reason, but had some left over or used medication prescribed for a family member or friend. Another study appearing in the same journal found that those who used painkillers for non-medical reasons generally reported the first such use as at age 16 or 17.
HealthDay (5/8, Mozes) reports the data indicate misuse starting “earlier than thought.” The study was “co-funded by the university and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.”
MedPage Today (5/8, Fiore) reports, “An estimated 3% of kids in a national survey were classified as newly incident users and said they started using these drugs at age 16, the highest proportion among all age groups in the study,” the study authors reported. The survey found that “risk appears to be lowest from ages 12 to 14, and again from ages 19 to 21.”
— “One in eight teens misuses prescription painkillers,”Genevra Pittman, Reuters, May 7, 2012.