Youth painkiller use: Not a numb issue

Misuse of prescription pain medication among teens has become a major children’s health concern. With sales of narcotic pain medicines increasing, teens have easier access to the pills and often misuse medication that was prescribed for themselves, a family member, or a friend.

According to a new study released this week, 1 in 10 teens and young adults who were treated in an emergency room admitted to misusing a prescription painkiller or sedative in the last year (Press release: ER study finds 1 in 10 older teens misuse Rx painkillers and sedatives). Another study found that teens who misuse prescription pain medications have an increased risk of abusing of controlled substances as adults (Press release: Young people who abuse prescription pain meds are more likely to use other drugs later on). Both of these studies indicate a need for more efforts to prevent prescription painkiller misuse among teens.

We asked adults in the National Poll on Children’s Health for their opinions on policies to discourage misuse of narcotic pain medicine among children and teens. While there was broad support for policies requiring parents to show identification when picking up prescription pain medicine for their children, there was much less support for a requirement that unused pain medicine be returned to the doctor or pharmacy. Read the full report: Parents numb to misuse of narcotic pain medicines by youth?

Infographic: Parent support for policies to discourage children and teens' misuse of narcotic pain medicine

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In this video, NPCH Associate Director Sarah Clark discusses narcotic pain medicine misuse among children and teens:

Would you support a policy that would require you to return unused narcotic pain medicine to the doctor or pharmacy?