HealthDay (10/18, Preidt) reports that “the rate of prescription painkiller abuse among American youth is 40 percent higher than in previous generations, and it is now the second most common type of illegal drug use after marijuana,” according to a new study published Oct. 16 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. According to the article, study author Richard Miech said in a news release that the “current generation’s abuse of prescription pain medications…is ‘higher than any generation ever measured.'” Examining data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 1985 to 2009, researchers found that prescription painkiller abuse led to “a 129 percent increase in emergency department visits between 2004 and 2009,” and “a more than 500 percent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for addiction to prescription opioids between 1997 and 2007.”
Study: Illicit Drug Use Down, Prescription Medication Use On The Rise. MedPage Today (10/18, Fiore) reports that researchers reported at a poster session at the American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting that “as abuse of prescription painkillers continues to rise, patients are using fewer illicit drugs.” The article says that Asokumar Buvanendran, MD, of Rush University Medical Center, and colleagues reported that “while the incidence of abuse of oxycodone (OxyContin) and other prescription painkillers rose about 1 percentage point each year between 2007 and 2009, rates of illicit drug use — that includes marijuana, cocaine, and heroin — fell 4 percentage points each year during that time.” MedPage Today details that “to assess trends in abuse of prescription and illicit drugs, the researchers looked at data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) for 11 major metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2009.”
— “Painkiller Abuse by Kids Way Up, Study Finds,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, October 17,2012.