Teen Drinking and Smoking May Predict Rx Abuse

Teen Drinking and Smoking May Predict Rx Abuse

By Valerie Tejeda 08/22/12

More than half of adult prescription drug abusers were teen drinkers or smokers, a study shows.

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New research highlights a link between smoking and drinking in your teens, and painkiller abuse in adulthood. The Yale University study, to be published in the upcoming issue of Journal of Adolescent Health, collected data from 18-25 years olds, using the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006-2008. Of the young adults surveyed, 12% said they were currently abusing prescription opioids—and of this group, 57% said they had abused alcohol as teens, 56% had smoked cigarettes, and 34% had used marijuana. “About 3.5 million young adults abuse prescription opioids, and this number is growing," says study lead author Dr. Lynn Fiellin, associate professor of medicine at Yale. Researchers also found that these correlative behaviors were different between genders: among women, only marijuana was linked to abusing prescription drugs later in life, whereas among men, cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana contributed to an increased risk of Rx abuse. The researchers note that the study shows a correlation—rather than proving a cause-and-effect relationship—between teen substance abuse and prescription drug abuse. 

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.

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