Prescription opioid misuse down among Pennsylvania youth

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new report shows prescription opioid misuse among Pennsylvania’s young adults and teenagers is in decline.

The report was released last week by the Pennsylvania State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup.

According to the report, 10.8 percent of young adults between 18 and 25 were estimated to have misused prescription opioids in 2011. That number decreased to 8.7 percent in 2014.

There were similar numbers among Pennsylvanians between the ages of 12 and 17. Six percent of them were estimated to have misused prescription opioids in 2011, compared to 4.5 percent in 2014.

The drugs misused include OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

“We see information like this, we know we’re doing something right,” said Jennifer Smith, the Acting Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, which was part of the work group behind the report. “We need to focus on what it is that we’re doing that’s causing these positive outcomes and try to build upon that.”

The report did find that less 12- to 17-year-olds in the state saw a perceived risk in misusing prescription opioids.

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