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Parents numb to misuse of narcotic pain meds by youth, new poll shows
Date:1/23/2013

ave ever used a narcotic pain medicine. However, parents may downplay the risks of narcotic pain medicine because they are prescribed by a doctor," says Sarah J. Clark , M.P.H., Associate Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan and Associate Director of the National Poll on Children's Health.

"However, people who misuse narcotic pain medicine are often using drugs prescribed to themselves, a friend or a relative. That 'safe' prescription may serve as a readily accessible supply of potentially lethal drugs for children or teens," Clark says.

Although rates of narcotic pain medicine use have been shown to be three times higher among white teens than their black or Hispanic peers, white parents in this poll are less likely than black or Hispanic parents to be very concerned about narcotic pain medicine use, and are less likely to support policies to limit children's access to them. 

There was support for some policies to discourage misuse: 66 percent strongly supported requiring parents to show identification when picking narcotic pain medicine for their children. Fifty-seven percent strongly supported policies blocking narcotic pain medicine scripts from more than one doctor.

But overall, the limited level of concern and the lack of strong support for policy changes show the public may not recognize the seriousness of the problem.

"This is a national problem and a growing problem. The results of this poll are a signal that parents may not be aware of the significant rates of misuse of narcotic pain medicine, which highlights the tremendous challenge of addressing this national problem," Clark says.

Broadcast-quality video is available on request. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8cXRIEmkTk.

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SOURCE University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health
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