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AAP: Prescription Drug Misuse Common in Adolescents
(HealthDay News)
by -- Rick Ansorge
Updated: Oct 11th 2006

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among adolescents, misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is second only to misuse of alcohol and marijuana, according to a presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

Sharon Levy, M.D., and John R. Knight, M.D., of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Children's Hospital in Boston, presented research showing that some of the most commonly abused medications include Vicodin, Xanax and common over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

They cited 2005 surveys of 12th graders showing lifetime and past-year rates of prescription narcotic misuse (12.8 percent and 9 percent, respectively), prescription stimulant misuse (13.1 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively) and benzodiazepine misuse (9.9 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively).

Among their recommendations: annual screenings of adolescents for the misuse of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications; recognition among physicians and parents of non-specific signs of drug misuse such as fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies and poor school performance; and caution when prescribing medications with abuse potential.

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