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Larissa Doucette

As many as one in 10 teenagers who visited an emergency department (ED) reported abuse of prescription painkillers or sedatives within the last year, University of Michigan researchers report in a study (PDF) published in Pediatrics. Researchers asked participants aged 14 to 20 who came to the ED for medical treatment to complete a computerized self-report survey that measured past-year use of non-prescribed opioids and stimulants, substance abuse, and violence. Of the 2,135 participants, 222 (10.4%) reported non-medical use of prescription opioids or sedatives within the last year. The study also found that teens who received an intravenous opioid during their visit were more likely to have abused opioids in the last year and that those who abused a stimulant were more likely to have a history of dating violence and substance abuse. The researchers concluded that EDs may be an ideal location for screening young patients for non-medical use of prescription drugs.