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Prevalence of Narcotic Analgesic Abuse Among Students: Individual or Polydrug Abuse?

Prevalence of Narcotic Analgesic Abuse Among Students: Individual or Polydrug Abuse? Recent national surveys indicate significant levels of nonmedical use of prescription narcotic analgesics by American youth. Data from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health1 indicate that 7.6% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 11.4% of 18- to 25-year-olds abused prescription pain relievers in the past year, with a more than 4-fold increase in the number of new users of these drugs since 1990. The 2002 Monitoring the Future Survey2 indicated that 1.3% of 8th graders, 3% of 10th graders, and 4% of 12th graders used OxyContin during the past year, and even larger proportions (2.5%, 6.9%, and 9.6%, respectively) used Vicodin during the past year. Questions on painkiller use were included for the first time in 2002 in annual surveys of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse conducted anonymously in Delaware public school 8th and 11th grade classrooms. The final samples included 6753 8th graders and 4880 11th graders. Sampling, demographic characteristics, and analysis techniques are available in the study annual report.3 Abuse of "narcotic painkillers" is defined in the survey as any use of OxyContin, Percocet, Tylenol 3, and/or codeine "to get high." Painkillers were the most abused drugs in the past year by 11th graders after cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana and the most abused drugs in the past year by 8th graders after cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants. Analyses conducted of other drug abuse by 8th and 11th graders illustrated statistically significant differences between users and nonusers of painkillers in every drug category, especially abuse of other prescription drugs (see Table 1). Almost all (94.0%) of the 8th grade and virtually all (99.2%) of the 11th grade painkiller abusers reported abuse of one or more other drugs during the past year, compared with just under half (49.9%) of 8th grade and 70.7% of 11th grade nonabusers of painkillers. View LargeDownload Past-Year Abuse of Selected Drugs by Past-Year Abusers and Nonabusers of Painkillers Among 2002 Delaware 8th and 11th Graders* Media reports on the abuse of OxyContin have raised concerns over whether this and other narcotic analgesics are creating new drug abusers in youthful populations.4,5 Data from the 2002 Delaware Youth Survey indicate that those reporting painkiller abuse are far more involved in the concurrent abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs than those who do not use painkillers illegally. This suggests that: (1) painkiller abusers may be further along in their drug careers than nonabusers of painkillers and (2) the abuse of a wide variety of other prescription drugs is part of a pattern more characteristic of the painkiller abusers. This analysis is restricted to one small but demographically diverse state with urban, suburban, and rural areas; upper, middle, and working-class communities; banking and manufacturing in the north of the state; and agricultural and resort communities in the south, making it more representative than its size belies. Delaware also had the dubious distinction of having the highest reported rate of youth drug abuse in the nation.6 Since the abuse of painkillers was quite visible among 8th graders and at levels not far from the 11th grade estimates, it raises the question of where youth get access. Future Delaware surveys have added questions on access to help direct prevention efforts targeting the problems associated with the abuse of prescription painkillers. This study was supported by cooperative agreement SP08192 from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC. Dr Inciardi is a member of an external advisory committee for Purdue Pharma, Stamford, Conn, which manufactures OxyContin. The Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, Newark, receives funding from Purdue Pharma to conduct a nationwide survey of pharmaceutical diversion. Corresponding author and reprints: James A. Inciardi, PhD, Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, 2100 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Suite 1180, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (e-mail: inciardi@udel.edu). References 1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results From the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Rockville, Md Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration2003; 2. Johnston LDO'Malley PMBachman JG Ecstasy use among American teens drops for the first time in recent years and overall drug and alcohol use decline in year after 9/11. University of Michigan News and Information Services Press Release. December16 2002;Google Scholar 3. Not Available, Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse among Delaware students. State of Delaware Web site. Available at:http://www.state.de.us/drugfree/2002rpt/atda2002.pdfAccessed September 30, 2003 4. Not Available, Growing painkiller abuse concerns public officials. Subst Abuse Lett. 2003;81- 2Google Scholar 5. Rick S Teen drug use more worrisome than ever: substance abuse counselors are especially alarmed by levels of prescription drug use among young people. Monday Magazine. December2 2002;8BGoogle Scholar 6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, State Estimates of Substance Use From the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Findings. Rockville, Md Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration2002; http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine American Medical Association

Prevalence of Narcotic Analgesic Abuse Among Students: Individual or Polydrug Abuse?

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
1072-4710
eISSN
1538-3628
DOI
10.1001/archpedi.158.5.498-b
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent national surveys indicate significant levels of nonmedical use of prescription narcotic analgesics by American youth. Data from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health1 indicate that 7.6% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 11.4% of 18- to 25-year-olds abused prescription pain relievers in the past year, with a more than 4-fold increase in the number of new users of these drugs since 1990. The 2002 Monitoring the Future Survey2 indicated that 1.3% of 8th graders, 3% of 10th graders, and 4% of 12th graders used OxyContin during the past year, and even larger proportions (2.5%, 6.9%, and 9.6%, respectively) used Vicodin during the past year. Questions on painkiller use were included for the first time in 2002 in annual surveys of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse conducted anonymously in Delaware public school 8th and 11th grade classrooms. The final samples included 6753 8th graders and 4880 11th graders. Sampling, demographic characteristics, and analysis techniques are available in the study annual report.3 Abuse of "narcotic painkillers" is defined in the survey as any use of OxyContin, Percocet, Tylenol 3, and/or codeine "to get high." Painkillers were the most abused drugs in the past year by 11th graders after cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana and the most abused drugs in the past year by 8th graders after cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants. Analyses conducted of other drug abuse by 8th and 11th graders illustrated statistically significant differences between users and nonusers of painkillers in every drug category, especially abuse of other prescription drugs (see Table 1). Almost all (94.0%) of the 8th grade and virtually all (99.2%) of the 11th grade painkiller abusers reported abuse of one or more other drugs during the past year, compared with just under half (49.9%) of 8th grade and 70.7% of 11th grade nonabusers of painkillers. View LargeDownload Past-Year Abuse of Selected Drugs by Past-Year Abusers and Nonabusers of Painkillers Among 2002 Delaware 8th and 11th Graders* Media reports on the abuse of OxyContin have raised concerns over whether this and other narcotic analgesics are creating new drug abusers in youthful populations.4,5 Data from the 2002 Delaware Youth Survey indicate that those reporting painkiller abuse are far more involved in the concurrent abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs than those who do not use painkillers illegally. This suggests that: (1) painkiller abusers may be further along in their drug careers than nonabusers of painkillers and (2) the abuse of a wide variety of other prescription drugs is part of a pattern more characteristic of the painkiller abusers. This analysis is restricted to one small but demographically diverse state with urban, suburban, and rural areas; upper, middle, and working-class communities; banking and manufacturing in the north of the state; and agricultural and resort communities in the south, making it more representative than its size belies. Delaware also had the dubious distinction of having the highest reported rate of youth drug abuse in the nation.6 Since the abuse of painkillers was quite visible among 8th graders and at levels not far from the 11th grade estimates, it raises the question of where youth get access. Future Delaware surveys have added questions on access to help direct prevention efforts targeting the problems associated with the abuse of prescription painkillers. This study was supported by cooperative agreement SP08192 from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC. Dr Inciardi is a member of an external advisory committee for Purdue Pharma, Stamford, Conn, which manufactures OxyContin. The Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, Newark, receives funding from Purdue Pharma to conduct a nationwide survey of pharmaceutical diversion. Corresponding author and reprints: James A. Inciardi, PhD, Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, 2100 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Suite 1180, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (e-mail: inciardi@udel.edu). References 1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results From the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Rockville, Md Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration2003; 2. Johnston LDO'Malley PMBachman JG Ecstasy use among American teens drops for the first time in recent years and overall drug and alcohol use decline in year after 9/11. University of Michigan News and Information Services Press Release. December16 2002;Google Scholar 3. Not Available, Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse among Delaware students. State of Delaware Web site. Available at:http://www.state.de.us/drugfree/2002rpt/atda2002.pdfAccessed September 30, 2003 4. Not Available, Growing painkiller abuse concerns public officials. Subst Abuse Lett. 2003;81- 2Google Scholar 5. Rick S Teen drug use more worrisome than ever: substance abuse counselors are especially alarmed by levels of prescription drug use among young people. Monday Magazine. December2 2002;8BGoogle Scholar 6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, State Estimates of Substance Use From the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Findings. Rockville, Md Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration2002;

Journal

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent MedicineAmerican Medical Association

Published: May 1, 2004

Keywords: opioid analgesics

References