According to recent nationally-representative surveys conducted by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one in eight older teens has used painkillers which weren’t prescribed to them. The surveys also revealed that many teens started misusing prescription drugs, such as oxycotin and codeine, much earlier than previously assumed.
“The non-medical use of controlled medications in (teens) has surpassed almost all illicit drugs except for marijuana,” said pediatrician Dr. Robert Fortuna, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
Survey data on 12- to 21-year olds revealed that the majority of teens who started misusing painkillers, began not at the end of high school or afterwards, but at age 16 or 17. These findings suggest that prevention programs geared towards keeping kids away from painkillers should start early on in high school, rather than later on.