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16 Years Old: The Age When Opiate Prescription Drug Abuse Peaks

opiate prescription drug abuse, teen drug use Prescription drug abuse using opiate pain medications is a common problem that is affecting kids at younger ages today. A recent study shows that these drugs are being used earlier than previously thought, and that most opiate prescription drug abusers start around age 16 if not earlier. Some study respondents reported abusing these drugs to get high as early as 12-13 years old. The study was co-authored by James Anthony, who is an epidemiology and biostatistics professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. According to Professor Anthony “What our findings suggest is that if we wait until the last year of high school or college to take some kind of action that could prevent the misuse of opioid painkillers, it’ll be a case of too little, too late.” Anthony continued by saying “Even school-based programs targeting younger kids about the dangers of opioids are not going to be the whole answer.”

Another medical expert who agrees with the study, which is published in the online medical journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, is Dr. Marc Galanter. As Director of New York University Langone Medical Center’s alcoholism and substance abuse division Dr. Galanter agrees with the findings. According to him “Prescription pain relievers are becoming our nation’s gravest drug-abuse problem. A pattern that often emerges is that younger adolescents may use these pills intermittently or occasionally, and then later fall into heavier use and addiction. So the earlier this issue can be addressed in that sequence, the greater will be the opportunity for a constructive outcome.”

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