Rx Opioid Misuse Among Teens Tied to Wide Range of Risky Behaviors

Rx Opioid Misuse Among Teens Tied to Wide Range of Risky Behaviors

By Amy Orciari Herman Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Teens who misuse prescription opioids are more likely to engage in over 20 other harmful behaviors, according to a cross-sectional study in Pediatrics.

Researchers examined data on nearly 15,000 high-schoolers who completed the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey in 2017. Some 14% reported ever misusing prescription opioids.

After adjustment for age, sex, and race/ethnicity, teens who reported opioid misuse were significantly more likely to engage in 22 risky behaviors studied, compared with those who did not misuse opioids. For example, they are more likely to drive under the influence, text while driving, have intercourse before age 13, carry weapons, take part in physical fights, and attempt suicide.

The researchers write, "When physicians and other providers identify youth misusing prescription opioids, they should have a heightened awareness of associated risky behaviors and potential opportunities for education and prevention."

Links for further Learning

Pediatrics article (Free abstract)

Pediatrics early-release page (to access article if above link isn't live yet) (Free) 1/6/2020

Background: Physician's First Watch coverage of parents and teens misusing opioids (Free)