After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the past-year use of commonly abused drugs among high school seniors. Data for past-year use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines include the following: Vicodin (8%), Adderall (6.5%), Salvia (5.9%), Tranquilizers (5.6%), Cough Medicine (5.3%), OxyContin (4.9%), Sedatives (4/3%), and Ritalin (2.6%), a combined total of 37.2%. Data for past-year use of illicit drugs includes the following: Marijuana/Hashish (36.4%), Synthetic Marijuana (11.4%), Salvia (5.9%), MDMA (Ecstasy 5.3%), Hallucinogens (5.2%), Inhalants (3.2%), and Cocaine (any form, 2.9 %).
Despite recent reductions in several areas of teen drug use, teens are continuing to use prescription and over-the-counter medications to get high. It’s a serious problem that affects all of us.
Many parents don’t know enough about this problem, and many teens don’t understand the dangers of using the medications to get high.
The latest attitude surveys tell us that:
- Nearly one in five teens (17%) say they have used prescription medicine at least once in their lifetime to get high.
- More than one in ten teens (12%) report lifetime use of over-the-counter cough or cold medicines to get high.
- One out of ten teens (10%) report using pain medications (OxyContin® and Vicodin®) to get high in the past year; six percent say they’ve used pain medications in the past 30 days to get high.
- Emergency room visits, as a result of prescription medications, increased by 45% between 2004 and 2010 among children under the age of 20. (Highlights of the 2010 DAWN Findings, July 2012)
- Nearly three in five teens (58%) now say that they strongly disapprove of their peers using prescription medication to get high. This is up from 52% in 2010.