Pubdate: Fri, 22 Apr 2005
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The Miami Herald
Author: Larry McShane, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


Capitalizing On The Availability Of Prescription Drugs In Their Homes,
More Teens Last Year Abused Painkillers Than used Ecstasy, Cocaine,
Crack Or LSD, A Report Said

NEW YORK - About one in five teenagers have tried prescription
painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin to get high, with the pill-
popping members of ''Generation Rx'' often raiding their parents'
medicine cabinets, according to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-
Free America.

The 17th annual study on teen drug abuse, released Thursday, found
that more teens had abused prescription painkillers in 2004 than
Ecstasy, cocaine, crack or LSD. One in 11 teens had abused
over-the-counter products such as cough medicine, the study reported.

''For the first time, our national study finds that today's teens are
more likely to have abused a prescription painkiller to get high than
they are to have experimented with a variety of illegal drugs,'' said
Partnership Chairman Roy Bostock. ``In other words, Generation Rx has

According to the study, the most popular prescription drug abused by
teens was Vicodin, with 18 percent -- or about 4.3 million youths --
reporting they had used it to get high. OxyContin and drugs for
attention-deficit disorder such as Ritalin/Adderall followed with one
in 10 teens reporting they had tried them.

Fewer than half the teens -- 48 percent -- said they saw ''great
risk'' in experimenting with prescription medicines. ''Ease of
access'' was cited as a major factor in trying the medications, with
medicine cabinets at home or at friends' homes a likely source, the
survey found.

It was only the second year that the survey had studied abuse of legal
drugs. In 2003, the Partnership grouped together three prescription
pain relievers: Vicodin, OxyContin and Tylox, and found that 20
percent of teens had tried them.

The 2004 study looked at Vicodin and OxyContin separately but excluded
Tylox, and it found that 18 percent had tried Vicodin and 10 percent
had used OxyContin. The 2004 figures indicated the same or a slight
increase in use compared with 2003, said Barbara Delaney, director of
research at the Partnership.

Nine percent of teens had experimented with cough syrup and other such
products, the survey reported.
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