Thursday, December 21, 2006

Teen Medicine Abuse Persistent, Study Finds

Good news and bad news.

Good news -- drug use of illegal drugs among teens is down.

Bad news -- abuse of medical drugs is way up.

Could this have anything to do with direct-to-consumer TV marketing of pharmaceutica

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 21, 2006; 2:34 PM

Federal officials are concerned that teenagers are abusing prescription medications and over-the-counter cold remedies even as their overall illegal drug use continued a decade-long decline in 2006, according to a government survey released today.

While illegal drug use by teenagers has fallen 23 percent since 2001, their use of prescription narcotics, tranquilizers and other medicines remains at relatively high levels, government investigators said.

What's more, researchers for the first time asked whether teens were using cough or cold medicines to get high and found reason for concern there, too. Such over-the-counter medicines often contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, which alters mood and consciousness when consumed in high doses and can cause brain damage or even death, officials said.

About 1 in 14 12th graders, or 7 percent, said they had taken such medicines to get high in the last year. Among eight graders, the figure was 1 in 25, about 4 percent. >> continued

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