The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine published a study about teenagers’ use of painkillers. As you can imagine, this is a very scary topic for multiple reasons.
Researchers surveyed behaviors and attitudes of about 7,400 high school seniors from 135 different schools, both public and private. Their survey showed that 13% of students reported having used prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons, such as getting high or to relieve pain.
Theteens in the study that were misusing the painkillers, were also more likely to smoke pot, smoke cigarettes and binge drink. This tells us that the teenagers engaging in misuse of painkillers may often engage in other high-risk behaviors.
This is extremely concerning for us, both as doctors and parents, because it suggests that a huge subculture exists where there is inappropriate use of painkillers and a lack of understanding about the dangers and risks involved.
One of the larger implications is the impact on long term health should they continue to misuse drugs.
The bottom line here is if you’ve got painkillers in your house for any reason, lock them up and count them on a daily basis and when you don’t need them anymore, get rid of them!