The Truth About Drug Use in Middle School Students

July 27, 2016

rx.jpgPrescription drugs can do a lot to help people with medical conditions and, when used appropriately, they can have a positive impact. Unfortunately, many of these drugs are misused and abused by middle-school-aged youth. According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, the prevalence of prescription drug use in 8th graders was 1.7% and rose to 4.7% by 12th grade. Thirty-three percent of teens believe it is okay to use prescription drugs for an injury, illness, or physical pain even if it has not been prescribed for them. And in 2012, The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study found that a total of 20% of children have misused or abused a prescription drug before the age of 14. Thus, it is essential to educate students on how not to take drugs prescribed to others.

Prescription drug abuse is many times a result of boredom, a need to escape troubles, or a longing to get high. Social pressures and the overwhelming desire to look “cool” in the eyes of peers can also be a driving factor to engage in these behaviors. Students may urge others to use prescription drugs by saying the common phrase “just try it for fun.” Prescription drug abuse has also become more prevalent because of easy accessibility in the family medicine cabinet. A suggested method of prevention is for parents to talk to their children through times of pressure or unhappiness

National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) is aware of this issue, and is currently creating new sessions on prescription drug abuse for middle-school-aged youth. Based on Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST), the goal of this program is to bring attention to the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse while teaching students the skills to refuse them. This adaptation will educate youth on healthy behavioral practices as well as help to deter them from engaging in dangerous health behaviors.

Sources: Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2013: Volume I, secondary school students, University of Utah Health Care.

Writer: Amanda Flower is a rising junior majoring in Public Health at Muhlenberg College



Kentucky Announces Drop in Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens

October 7, 2013

A newly released survey indicates far fewer Kentucky teens abused prescription drugs last year, compared with four years ago. The 2012 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention School Survey found 9 percent of high school seniors abused prescription drugs last year, compared with 15.2 percent in 2008. Among sophomores, prescription drug abuse rates decreased from 14.1 percent to 7.6 percent. Among eighth graders the rate decreased from 6.5 percent to 2.9 percent, the Courier-Journal reports.

Kentucky officials said the drop is due to a law signed by Governor Steve Beshear in 2012 designed to reduce prescription drug abuse. The law requires that all pain clinics be licensed, specifies requirements for ownership and employment, and obliges Kentucky’s licensure board to develop regulations for pain clinics. It gives law enforcement easier access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring database. Doctors must examine patients, take full medical histories, and check electronic prescription records before writing prescriptions for opioids.

The law also includes education campaigns for middle and high school students, which Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said has reached 25,000 students, teachers and parents.

“Education works,” Governor Beshear said in a news release. “Our public health and law enforcement communities have worked tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of using prescriptions outside of a doctor’s care. And this report shows that when people have the correct information, they make better choices.”

Some addiction experts said they are concerned that the drop in prescription drug abuse among teens may be accompanied by a rise in heroin use in this age group, the article notes. “The General Assembly has passed legislation to make it more difficult to access prescription drugs,” said Karyn Hascal, president of The Healing Place recovery program in Louisville. “My concern is the unintended consequence is that people have switched to heroin. … The problem is addiction, not the drug of the day.”


National survey shows continued reduced levels of prescription drug use among young adults

September 10, 2013

The rate of past month nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2012 was 5.3 percent – similar to rates in 2010 and 2011, but significantly lower than the rate from 2009 (6.4 percent), according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA issued its2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report in conjunction with the 24th annual national observance of National Recovery Month.

The SAMHSA report also found that the rates of past month drinking, binge drinking and heavy drinking among underage adolescents aged 12 to 17 remained lower than their levels in 2002 and 2009. The percentage of people aged 12 and older who drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year in 2012 was 11.2 percent, significantly lower than the level in 2002 (14.2 percent) but similar to the rate in 2011 (11.1 percent).

“These findings show that while we have made progress in preventing some aspects of substance abuse we must redouble our efforts to reduce and eliminate all forms of it throughout our nation,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “These statistics represent real people, families and communities dealing with the devastating consequences of abuse and addiction. We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help.”

“Reducing the impact of drug use and its consequences on our Nation requires a robust public health response coupled with smart on crime strategies that protect public safety,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “For the first time in a decade, we are seeing real and significant reductions in the abuse of prescription drugs in America, proving that a more comprehensive response to our drug problem can make a real difference in making our nation healthier and safer. Expanding prevention, treatment, and support for people in recovery for substance use disorders will be our guide as we work to address other emerging challenges, including the recent uptick in heroin use shown in this survey.”

The report showed some other areas of continued improvement including a drop in the rate of past month use of tobacco products among 12 to 17 year olds – from 15.2 percent in 2002, to 8.6 percent in 2012. Similarly between 2002 and 2012, the percentage of youth aged 12 to 17 with substance dependence or abuse declined from 8.9 percent to 6.1 percent

NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 70,000 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is a primary source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and mental health issues affecting the Nation.

Report also shows continued reduced rates of alcohol use among those age 12 to 1


Rate of Prescription Drug Abuse Among Young Adults Holds Steady at 5 Percent

September 4, 2013


A national survey released Wednesday finds 5.3 percent of young adults used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month, which are similar to rates in the previous two years. The survey also found rates of teen drinking, including binge drinking, in the past month were lower last year compared with 2002 and 2009.

Prescription drug abuse rates among adults ages 18 to 25 was significantly lower last year than in 2009, when 6.4 percent of young adults used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA found 11.2 percent of Americans drove under the influence of alcohol at least once last year, compared with 11.1 percent in 2011 and 14.2 percent in 2002. Approximately 9 percent of the population—23.9 million Americans—12 years and older used illicit drugs in the previous month.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, the survey found, with 7.3 percent of Americans saying they are current users. The number of people ages 12 and older who said they used heroin in the past year increased from 373,000 in 2007, to 669,000 in 2012.

“These findings show that while we have made progress in preventing some aspects of substance abuse we must redouble our efforts to reduce and eliminate all forms of it throughout our nation,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “These statistics represent real people, families and communities dealing with the devastating consequences of abuse and addiction. We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help.”


CASA National Survey Found Teens Cite Cigarettes and Marijuana As The Easiest Substances For Them To Buy

October 9, 2009

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University’s (CASA’s) National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents, 2009, found that teens are equally likely to say that cigarettes or marijuana are the easiest for them to buy.

Slightly more than one-fourth (26%) of teens said that cigarettes were the easiest for someone their age to buy and the same percentage cited marijuana. The third most prevalent response was prescription drugs (16%), followed by beer (14%). Ten percent of teens reported that they thought all four substances were equally easy to buy.

Click here to view the full survey results

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