Drug Addiction On School Campuses

Should Local Emergency Rooms Screen Teens and Young Adults for Prescription Drug Abuse?

ER screening, prescription drug abuse, teens and young adults

Prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults is on the rise and many parents and medical professionals are concerned about this trend. In some states more teens and young adults die from an overdose due to prescription drug abuse than those who die in an auto accident. Researchers from the University of Michigan believe that having local Emergency Room medical personnel screen teens and young adults for prescription drug abuse could be very beneficial based on study results. Substance abuse experts point to the study to show the high rate of prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults that is discovered during a visit to the emergency room. Approximately one in ten people in these two age groups report some form of prescription drug abuse when being treated in the emergency room, regardless of what treatment was being sought for.


The study questioned teens and young adults about prescription drug abuse in the form of sedatives and pain medications. The drugs involved in the questionnaires included the opiate painkillers hydrocodone, suboxone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, methadone, and oxycodone. The sedatives that the ER patients were asked about included Xanax, Serepax, GHB, Valium, Librium, Ativan, and Rohypnol. The study data was sourced from a confidential survey of the U of M Health System that covered both the adult and the pediatric emergency departments of the university hospital. The types of prescription drug abuse included taking more of a prescription medication that what was prescribed, taking opiates or sedatives in order to get high, and taking these classes of drugs without having a prescription for them.