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Survey: Teens Abusing Prescription Painkillers

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Aired 4/19/09

Researchers say more California teenagers are abusing prescription painkillers. The finding was published in a state survey on alcohol and drug abuse. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The California Student Survey asked young people whether they used drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percodan to get high. The report indicates 15-percent of high school juniors use the drugs, nine-percent of high school freshman and four-percent of seventh-graders. That makes painkillers the third most popular drug after alcohol and marijuana. The state’s alcohol and drug programs director Kathy Jett says it’s important to reach out to parents.

Jett: So they understand that if there’s medication in the house, that they have to be vigilant, especially if its pain medication. You need to count the number of pills in a bottle in you’re going to retain the drug. And if you don’t need the drug at all, you need to dispense of it.

The survey also found that one in ten high school juniors in California may have a serious drug problem. Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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