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16 years old is peak risk for teens misusing prescription drugs
Date:5/7/2012

ncentrated at about 16 years, when roughly 1 in 30 to 40 youth start to use painkillers to get high, or for other reasons not intended by the prescriber.

"Getting a firm grasp of when the first onset occurs is very important when we try to take public health action to prevent first occurrence," Anthony said. "With the peak risk at age 16 years and a notable acceleration in risk between ages 13 and 14 years, any strict focus on college students or 12th graders might be an example of too little too late."

The results reveal a need to strengthen prescribing guidelines for clinicians and introduce early school-based prevention programs such as effective school-based alcohol and tobacco initiatives, he said.

Other types of prevention programs include peer-resistance programs such as the popular "Just Say No" campaigns. There also is an opportunity to work with pharmaceutical specialists who sometimes can reformulate these drugs so their effects are blunted when misused.

As for clinicians with a public health perspective, Anthony said that non-opioid pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be quite effective, and that when opioid pain killers are prescribed for adolescents or in reach of teens, the number of tablets can be limited or kept under lock and key.

"Patients in transient pain are often given a larger opioid prescription than is needed. It can end up stacked in the medicine cabinet, available to anyone in or visiting the household," he said.


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Contact: Jason Cody
codyja@msu.edu
517-432-0924
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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