Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Misusing prescription drugs - the hidden rural drugs problem

Misuse of prescription drugs could be described as a hidden drug problem. One in eight U.S. teenagers abuse prescription opioids at some point, something which is associated with using cocaine and heroin as well as gambling, increased sexual activity and impulsivity. Researchers from the University of Kentucky analyzed data from 17,872 12 to 17-year-olds who took part in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Overall there was no difference in illegal drug use between urban and rural teenagers and the rates of usage were similar for cannabis, cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens. However, 13% of rural teenagers reported abusing prescription drugs compared to 10% of urban ones and they were more likely to have used pain relievers and tranquilizers non-medically. Even after taking other factors into account rural teenagers were 26% more likely to abuse prescription drugs. Poor health, episodes of depression and other substance abuse were all risk factors but children who lived with both parents were 32% less likely to misuse prescription drugs.

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