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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse Has Tripled in One Decade

7/28/2005:   The number of Americans who abuse controlled prescription drugs nearly doubled, from 7.8 million to 15.1 million, from 1992 to 2003, and abuse among teens more than tripled during that time, according to a new report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

The report details the findings of a three-year study of the use of prescription opioids, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, and central nervous system depressants and stimulants, such as Valium, Xanax, and Ritalin. The U.S. population increased 14% between 1992 and 2003, while the number of 12- to 17-years-olds who abused controlled prescription drugs jumped 212%, and the number of adults 18 and older abusing such drugs climbed 81%. The study also found that in 2003, 2.3 million 12- to 17-years-olds (nearly 1 in 10) abused at least one controlled prescription drug; for 83% of them, the drug was opioids.

The CASA report calls for an effort on all fronts to reduce abuse of controlled prescription drugs, including a major public health education and prevention campaign, better training of physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals, and new laws and better law enforcement to close rogue Internet sites peddling controlled prescription drugs.

Read a press release about the study, download a copy of the 214-page report, or order print copies.

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