Prescription Pain Reliever Misuse Increases Among Young Adults

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Adults aged 18 to 25 currently using pain relievers for non-medical reasons increased from 4.1 percent in 2002 to 4.6 percent in 2007, according to a report based on a series of nationwide surveys. However, this report showed encouraging findings among youths aged 12 to 17 in that non-medical use of pain relievers in the past month had declined from 3.2 percent in 2002 to 2.7 percent in 2007.

The report released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says 1.5 million of these young adults used prescription pain relievers nonmedically in the past month in 2007.

Overall, 5.2 million people aged 12 years or older reported using prescription pain relievers nonmedically in the past month in 2007.

Trends in Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Relievers: 2002-2007 highlights nonmedical use of pain relievers in the past month among persons aged 12 or older.

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Other findings include:

* Among youths aged 12 to 17, nonmedical use of pain relievers in the past month declined from 3.2 percent in 2002 to 2.7 percent in 2007.

* Use among adults aged 26 or older increased from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent; and

* The rate of use among males aged 12 or older increased from 2.0 percent in 2002 to 2.6 percent in 2007 but did not change significantly for comparably aged females.

"Everyone can help prevent prescription drug misuse: the steps are simple. Use medications as prescribed, store them in a secure place and dispose of unused medications properly," said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H.

The report is drawn from SAMHSA's 2002 through 2007 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which collected data from a total sample of approximately 405,000 persons representative of the United States civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 12 or older.

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