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Many Parents Not Concerned About Children’s Misuse of Narcotic Pain Medicines

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A survey of parents finds just one-third are very concerned about the misuse of prescribed narcotic pain medicine by children and teens in their community, according to HealthDay. Only one-fifth are very concerned about the misuse of these drugs in their own families.

The national survey of more than 1,300 parents with children ages 15 to 17 was conducted by the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital. According to the findings, 38 percent of black parents, 26 percent of Hispanic parents, and 13 percent of white parents are very concerned about the misuse of narcotic painkillers in their own families. Misuse of these medicines has been shown to be three times higher among white teens than black or Hispanic teens, according to the researchers.

They found 41 percent of parents favor a policy that would require a doctor’s visit to obtain refills on these medications. About half said they do not support a requirement that unused pain medicines be returned to a doctor or pharmacy.

According to the survey, 66 percent of respondents strongly support requiring parents to show identification when they pick up narcotic painkillers for their children, and 57 percent strongly support policies that would ban obtaining prescriptions for the medicines from more than one doctor.

“Recent estimates are that one in four high school seniors have ever used a narcotic pain medicine. However, parents may downplay the risks of narcotic pain medicine because they are prescribed by a doctor,” Sarah Clark, Associate Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan, said in a news release. “However, people who misuse narcotic pain medicine are often using drugs prescribed to themselves, a friend or a relative. That ‘safe’ prescription may serve as a readily accessible supply of potentially lethal drugs for children or teens.”

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