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More than half of Americans have personal connection to prescription pain medicine abuse

Sales of narcotic pain medicines in the U.S. have tripled in the past 20 years. As sales have increased, so have rates of pain medicine abuse and overdoses across all age groups–including children and teens.

According to a new poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week, more than half of people in the U.S. have a personal connection to prescription pain medicine abuse. Fifty-six percent said they either know someone or have themselves taken a prescription painkiller that wasn’t prescribed to them, been addicted to prescription painkillers, or died from an overdose of painkillers.

We asked parents for their experiences and concerns about narcotic pain medicines in a 2013 NPCH Report. More than one-third (35%) of parents said they are very concerned about misuse of prescription pain medicines by children and teens in their communities, but only 19% said they are concerned about misuse in their own families.

Parents were also asked about their support for different policies intended to discourage misuse of narcotic pain medicines by youth. While there was support for requiring parents to show identification when picking up narcotic pain medicine for their children, nearly half of parents were opposed to requirements that they return unused pain medicine to the doctor or pharmacy. Read the full report: Parents numb to misuse of narcotic pain medicines by youth?

Parent support for policies to discourage children and teens' misuse of narcotic pain medicine

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What do you think?
Are you worried about prescription pain medicine abuse among youth in your community? Would support any of these policies aimed at preventing it? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.