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Recreational Use of Prescription Painkillers Linked to Other Drug Problems in Teens | Time

May 10, 2012

Nearly 1 in 4 high school seniors has ever taken a prescription opioid pain reliever either medically or recreationally, according to a new study. Nonmedical use of these drugs was associated with a higher risk of smoking, illegal drug use and binge drinking, but proper medical use was not.

Researchers analyzed survey data on more than 7,000 high-school seniors, taken from the national Monitoring the Future study between 2007 and 2009. They found that 18% of 12th graders reporting having ever used opioid painkillers — which include medications like codeine, Oxycontin and Vicodin — for medical reasons. Thirteen percent of seniors reported taking the drugs recreationally.

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The findings and conclusions in these newsletter materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Children's Safety Network.