-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- About one in 10 American
teens and young adults says they have misused a prescription
painkiller or sedative, a new study finds.
Researchers conducted a confidential survey of more than 2,100
people aged 14 to 20 who visited University of Michigan Health
System emergency departments for any reason in 2010 and 2011.
The results showed that 10.4 percent of the participants
admitted to misusing a prescription painkiller or sedative at least
once in the last year. This included taking drugs to get high,
taking more than the recommended amount of a drug that was
prescribed to them and taking drugs prescribed to someone else.
Most of the drug misuse was illegal. The vast majority of
patients who admitted misuse had no prescriptions for these drugs
on their medical records, according to the authors of the study
published online Oct. 28 in the journal
The findings raise the possibility that emergency room visits,
for any reason, could be a good opportunity to detect and treat
prescription drug problems among young people, Dr. Lauren
Whiteside, who led the study during her U-M Injury Center
postdoctoral research, said in a university news release. She is
now at the University of Washington.
Whiteside also noted that it's important for emergency
physicians to be aware that some patients who come to the ER could
be seeking drugs for misuse or to give to other people.
The study also identified several risk factors associated with
misuse of prescription painkillers and sedatives.
For example, patients who misused painkillers were more likely
to receive an intravenous opioid painkiller during their ER visit.
And patients who misused prescription drugs were significantly more
likely to have also abused alcohol and non-prescription drugs such
as cough medicine or to have used marijuana in the past year. They
were also more likely to have been in a vehicle with a drunken
Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels in the
United States. In many states, prescription drug overdoses kill
more people than traffic collisions do, according to the news
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about
prescription drug abuse.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.