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Study examines prescription drug abuse among teens

October 30, 2013

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Ann Arbor, MI – A new study from the University of Michigan found that about 1 out of 10 teens and young adults visiting the emergency department reported having misused prescription medication.

Researchers used data from a confidential survey of 2,135 people between 14 and 20 years old who were treated in the emergency department between September 2010 and September 2011. In total, 10.4 percent of respondents said they had misused prescription painkillers or sedatives by taking them to get high, taking more than the prescribed amount or taking someone else’s medication.

Teens and young adults who had misused prescription drugs were found to be more likely to have abused alcohol, marijuana or non-prescription drugs such as cough medication, as well as drink and drive or ride with an intoxicated driver. Prescription drug abuse also was linked to behavior such as dating violence and previously visiting the emergency department in the past year, the study abstract states.

The study was published online Oct. 28 in the journal Pediatrics.