-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Many American parents are
not very concerned about the misuse of narcotic pain medicines by
children and teens, despite the fact that rates of abuse and
overdoses involving these drugs are rising in all age groups, a new
The number of drug overdose deaths attributed to narcotic pain
medicines such as Vicodin or Oxycontin is greater than overdose
deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, according to national
The survey, conducted last September, included over 1,300
parents with children aged 5 to 17. Among the participants, the
investigators found that only 35 percent of parents were very
concerned about the misuse of narcotic pain medicines by children
and teens in their communities, and only 19 percent were very
concerned about the misuse of these medicines in their own
Black parents (38 percent) and Hispanic parents (26 percent)
were more likely than white parents (13 percent) to be very
concerned about the misuse of narcotic pain medicines in their own
families, even though use of the medicines has been shown to be
three times higher among white teens than black or Hispanic teens,
according to the results of the University of Michigan Mott
Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.
The survey also found lukewarm support among parents for some
policies that would discourage the abuse of narcotic pain
medicines. Only 41 percent of parents said they favor a policy that
would require a doctor's visit to obtain a refill on these
medicines, and about half do not favor a requirement that unused
pain medicine be returned to a doctor or pharmacy.
There was stronger support for other policies. For example, 66
percent of survey respondents strongly supported requiring parents
to show identification when picking up narcotic pain medicine for
their children, and 57 percent strongly supported policies blocking
narcotic pain medicine prescriptions from more than one doctor.
"Recent estimates are that one in four high school seniors have ever used a narcotic pain medicine. However, parents may downplay the risks of narcotic pain medicine because they are prescribed by a doctor," Sarah Clark, associate director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan and associate director of the National Poll on Children's Health, said in a university news release.
"However, people who misuse narcotic pain medicine are often using drugs prescribed to themselves, a friend or a relative. That 'safe' prescription may serve as a readily accessible supply of potentially lethal drugs for children or teens," Clark noted.
The findings suggest that Americans may not recognize the
seriousness of the issue.
"This is a national problem and a growing problem. The results of this poll are a signal that parents may not be aware of the significant rates of misuse of narcotic pain medicine, which highlights the tremendous challenge of addressing this national problem," Clark said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about
prescription pain 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.
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