Program Note: For more on the state of prescription drug use (and abuse), tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Q: What age are teens abusing prescription drugs?
A: Kids as young as 12 are trying or using prescription drugs non-medically - to get high or for "self-medicating." Pharmaceuticals are often more available to 12 year olds than illicit drugs because they can be taken from the medicine cabinet at home, rather than marijuana which necessitates knowing someone who uses or sells the drug. Also, pills may have a perception of safety because they are easier to take than smoking pot or drinking alcohol and are professionally manufactured in a lab.
Q: What types of prescription drugs are teens abusing?
A: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health identifies 4 types of prescription medications that are commonly abused — pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers. Eleven percent of teens (aged 12-17) reported lifetime non-medical use of pain relievers and four percent reported lifetime non-medical use of stimulants.
Q: Do different groups abuse different types of medications?
A: Yes. Painkillers are the most common pharmaceutical abused by teens, especially by younger teens. Stimulant abuse is more common among older teens and college students than younger teens. Girls are more likely to be current (past month) abusers of prescription medications than boys (4.3 vs. 3.6 percent). [Source: 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. ]
Filed under: 360° Radar
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with