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  • Writer's picturePRC 9

Prescription drug problems reach local youths

According to recent research, almost all U.S. doctors are overprescribing narcotic painkillers.[i] The effects of overprescribing have already been seen economically and socially, but the extreme dangers our older and even younger populations face with overprescribing medicine have, in many ways, yet to be seen. Part of the issue of overprescribing comes from early initiation of use. According to data from the Texas School Survey, students within DSHS Regions 9 and 10 have some of the highest current uses (past 30 days) of prescription drugs than other parts of Texas. However, what is arguably more alarming is that over 15% of middle school and high school students surveyed articulated they, at some point in their lifetime, used prescription drugs beyond their prescribed intention. The table below shows this data as compared to other DSHS regions in Texas. Beyond this, SAMSHA estimates that .7% of adolescents aged 12-17 in 2014 had a pain reliever disorder in the past year, or approximately 168,000 adolescents. Rates hav4 remained stable since 2002, but peaked in 2014 and has been trending downward since then. Despite downward trends of pain relievers prescribed to minors, easier access to information about prescription drugs coupled with an omnipresent issue of overprescribing prescription painkillers by doctors indicates a disastrous trend among youth, making prescription drugs easier to access from adult counterparts like grandparents, parents, and other siblings.

By Kevin Thompson Regional Evaluator Region 9 Prevention Resource Center

[i] Health News, “Almost All US Doctors Are Overprescribing Narcotic Painkillers, Research Suggests,” HEALTH, March 28, 2016,

Published August 9, 2016.

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