CDC: 1 out of every 5 teens abuses prescription drugs

June 9, 2010

One out of every 5 high school students has abused prescription drugs, according to survey results released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey asked high school students if they had ever taken OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax without a doctor's prescription. Reponses varied by race, with 23 percent of white students admitting to prescription drug abuse, followed by 17 percent of Hispanics and 12 percent of black students. No variation by gender was seen, although abuse rates were highest among older students.

The survey also found that 72 percent of high school students had used alcohol, 37 percent had used marijuana, 6.7 percent had used Ecstasy, 6.4 percent had used cocaine and 4.1 percent had use methamphetamine.

In addition, 19 percent of students admitted to having smoked cigarettes in the 30 days prior to the survey, and 28 percent reported having ridden in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol during that same time frame.