Teenagers and adults in their younger years who suffer from mental disorders and psychiatric illnesses are far more likely to use opiate based prescription drugs, including Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin, on a long term basis. The research study looked at data for over 62,000 people between the ages of 13 and 24 years old. Individuals in the group who suffered from some form of mental illness had an increased rate of opiate prescriptions given and these individuals are calculated to have long term opiate use and abuse which is 2.4 times that of individuals in the same age group who do not have any mental health disorders. Individuals who were men were more likely to use opiates, and older youth are also at a higher risk.
The Journal Of Adolescent Health carried the study results and information in the June 6, 2012 edition. The author of the study was Dr. Laura Richardson, who is associated with the University of Washington and Seattle Children Research Institute. According to Dr. Richards “There are a number of reasons adolescents and young adults with mental health issues are more likely to become long-term users of opioids. Depression and anxiety might increase pain symptoms and lead to longer treatment, and physicians may see depressed patients as being more distressed and may be willing to treat pain symptoms over a longer period of time.” Studies have shown that 87% of the prescription drugs that are abused by high school students are opiate based drugs. Opiate addiction requires substance abuse treatment.