One in five high school students have taken a
prescription drug without a physicians prescription, according to the
results of the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Prescription drug abuse was most common among white high
school seniors (23%), followed by Hispanics (17%) and blacks (11.8%).
We are concerned to learn that so many high school
students are taking prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them,
Howell Wechsler, MPH, director of CDCs Division of Adolescent and
School Health, said in a press release.
The national survey polls high school students every 2
years and is intended to monitor health risk behaviors of Americas
adolescents. The survey asks teens about unintentional injuries and violence,
tobacco, alcohol, drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors and
physical inactivity. The prescription drug abuse question was a new addition to
this years survey.
Survey researchers noted that improper use increased
steadily from 9th grade (15.1%) to 12th grade (25.8%).
Seventy-two percent of the teens said they have used
alcohol, 37% have used marijuana, 6.4% have used cocaine, 4.1% have used
methamphetamine and 6.7% have used ecstasy.
However, those results are similar to the 2007 survey.
Survey researchers noted that two of 15 of the federal
governments Healthy People 2010 goals have been reached reducing
the number of students getting into physical fights to less than 32% and
reducing the number of students riding in a car with someone who had been
drinking to less than 30%.
On nutrition, the researchers noted that the number of
students who drank soda in the previous week decreased from 34% in 2007 to
29.2% in 2009, and the number of students who ate fruit or drank 100% fruit
juice at least twice a day increased from 30% in 2005 to 34% in 2009. About 80%
of those students admitted they did not eat the recommended five or more
servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
The researchers noted that their findings were limited in that the
amount of under- or over-reporting could not be determined.
CDC. MMWR. 2010;59:SS-5.