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Study: Most teens abusing painkillers aren’t trying to get high

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 15 percent of high school seniors have abused prescription drugs, the most common being painkillers and sedatives. Their non-prescribed use is rapidly growing among teens, but not for the reasons that you may think. A new study published in the Journal of Pain suggests that most teens who are addicted to prescription medications are trying to get relief from pain, not attempting to get high. 

After surveying over 3,000 teens who abused narcotic pain relievers, researchers from the University of Michigan found that over 80 percent of them simply wanted to ease physical discomfort. The teens misused pain medications like OxyContin and Vicodin by taking more than directed or ingesting pills that belonged to someone else. The researchers did note, however, that the teens who stole or used another person's pills were more likely to admit that they also wanted to get high in addition to lessening their pain. 

The study also revealed that teen girls are more likely to misuse prescriptions than boys, but there seemed to be no gender difference in the adolescents' motives for taking the drugs. As a whole, most teens who are prescribed narcotics use them as directed and stop taking them after their pain has stopped. The University of Michigan team suggested that the teens who do have a problem may lack parental oversight. They recommend that parents more closely monitor their teens to prevent abuse from happening. 

As you can see from this study, taking a few more pills than prescribed can quickly spiral into addiction. If your child has a substance abuse problem, contact Intervention Services today. We can connect you to an experienced interventionist who can get your child into an effective treatment program. 

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