Pain Relief Not Only Motive for Teenagers' Opioid Use

Non-medical users motivated only by pain relief have lower odds of other drug use
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- More than 10 percent of U.S. high school seniors report non-medical use of prescription opioids, and many of them are motivated by factors other than physical pain relief, according to a study in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed 12,441 U.S. high school seniors from 2002 to 2006 to assess their motives for non-medical use of prescription opioids and examine associations between those motives and other substance abuse behaviors.

The researchers note that more than one in 10 of the students reported non-medical use of prescription opioids, and 45 percent of students who reported non-medical use in the past year said "to relieve physical pain" was an important motivation. Non-medical users who were motivated only by pain relief had lower odds of heavy drinking and other drug use than those motivated by pain relief and other motives and those who had non-pain relief motives only.

"The findings indicate motives should be considered when working with adolescents who report non-medical use of prescription opioids. Future efforts are needed to identify adolescents who may need appropriate pain management and those at increased risk for prescription opioid abuse," the authors conclude.

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