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One in 10 High School Seniors Have Used Narcotic Painkillers
Date:8/3/2009

Most wanted to get high, have a good time with friends, researchers say,,

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Pain relief isn't the main reason why one in 10 high school seniors have tried opioid drugs, a new U.S. study finds.

The most common reasons included relaxation, feeling good or getting high, experimentation and then pain relief. Students used drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine and codeine without a prescription, researchers say.

"The results of this study provide compelling evidence that adolescents have a wide range of motives for using prescription opioids non-medically, and these motives should be carefully considered in efforts to reduce this behavior," said study author Sean Esteban McCabe, a research associate professor at the Substance Abuse Research Center of the University of Michigan.

Other studies have found many adolescents get opioids from their own previous prescriptions, McCabe said. "These results suggest that appropriate pain management and careful therapeutic monitoring could contribute to reductions in the non-medical use of prescription opioids among adolescents," he said.

The report is published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

For the study, McCabe's team collected data on opioid use among 12,441 U.S. high school seniors (most aged 18 years). The students were asked if they used opioids and their reasons for doing so.

The researchers found that 12.3 percent of the students said they had used opioids for non-medical reasons; 8 percent said they had used them during the past year.

The top reasons for using these drugs were to relax or relieve tension (56.4 percent), to feel good or get high (53.5 percent), to experiment (52.4 percent), to relieve physical pain (44.8 percent) or to have a good time with friends (29.5 percent), McCabe said.

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