One in Ten Teens Abuse Vicodin

Surveys indicate that nearly one in 10 high-school seniors reported past year non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin, but methamphetamine use dropped. The series of classroom surveys of 46,097 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also found that declines in teen marijuana use have stalled.

One in 20 reported using OxyContin; 19 percent of 12th graders reported they got their drugs through a doctor’s prescription; 8 percent reported buying them from a dealer; and 66 percent said they got drugs from a friend or relative, the survey found.

The number of high school seniors reporting they used methamphetamine in the past year is at 1.2 percent, down from 4.7 percent in 1999.

“We are encouraged by the reduction of methamphetamine use, but we know that each new generation of teens brings unique prevention and education challenges,” Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

Only 2.7 percent of eighth graders describe themselves as daily tobacco smokers, down from a peak rate of 10.4 percent in 1996, while 11.2 percent of seniors say they smoke daily, down from 24.6 percent in 1997. However, the rate of 10th graders using smokeless tobacco in the past month is 6.5 percent, up from last year and the same as it was in 1999.

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The Pain of Addiction

Vicodin addiction often starts innocently enough. Most people start taking Vicodin or other pain medications after surgery or an injury. But then they can’t stop. They need more to get the same pain relief. They start doctor shopping to get more pills. And the cycle continues until it takes over their lives.