Investigators and researchers from the University of Michigan have determined that the risk of future prescription drug abuse is higher even when adolescent painkiller use is necessary, showing that even the legitimate use of these drugs in this age group can have consequences. In fact teens who are given these drugs are one third more likely to go on to abuse opioid drugs in the future. The study showed that these drugs were used in order to feel good, get high, or even relax once they were no longer n high school. There are situations where pain management is truly needed, and proper medical care and treatment is important. The USFDA has recently announced plans to approve Oxycontin for children as young as 11 years old and this has caused some concern in the medical community.
No one is advocating that adolescent painkiller use should be avoided even if this is medically necessary, but it is important for parents and medical care providers t fully understand the risks that these drugs pose when it comes to future prescription drug abuse. According to University of Michigan Institute for Social Research research professor and the lead author of the study Dr. Richard Miech “Most likely, the initial experience of pain relief is pleasurable and this safe experience may reduce perceived danger. A pleasurable and safe initial experience with a drug is a central factor in theories of who goes on to misuse drugs.” Parents and medical care providers may want to try non narcotic pain management medications and methods first before using opioid drugs to treat pain in children and adolescents.