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10% of U.S. High School Seniors Use Vicodin
Date:12/11/2008

And the decline in marijuana use among teens is slowing, survey finds

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- While marijuana and alcohol use has declined among teens, the abuse of painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin has increased, a new report shows.

But, the decline in the use of drugs such as marijuana has stalled after a steady drop in recent years, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse says in its report, Monitoring the Future: National Results on Adolescent Drug Use, which was released Thursday.

"We have seen improvements across many of the substances since the late '90s, but in the last couple of years, particularly this year, we've noticed that those declines have flattened out," said Dr. Wilson M. Compton, director of the Division of Epidemiology Services and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"We are concerned that we need to double down our efforts, because even though there have been improvements, these are still at rates that are high by international standards, and it's really very concerning in terms of the risk to the health of our community in the long run," Compton said.

Compton said that much of the drug use among adolescents is with teens from middle-class white families. "There is a preconception that this is a problem of minority youth, and that is not true," he said.

According to the report, the use of prescription painkillers among high school students remains high, with some 10 percent of seniors saying they used Vicodin and 4.7 percent reporting they used Oxycontin in the past year.

Of the top 10 drugs used by high school seniors, seven are prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup, the report noted. In fact, 15.4 percent of 12th graders said they used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons last year. "This seems remarkable to me, and very worrisome," Compton said.

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