Lawmakers discuss teen prescription drug abuse

September 20, 2012 5:39:17 PM PDT
California is trying to get ahead of the fastest growing drug problem among American teenagers -- prescription painkiller abuse.

In Sacramento Thursday, a panel of experts ranging from lawmakers to public health experts held a well-attended public hearing on options for preventing the crisis from escalating.

According to a 2009 Centers for Disease Control study, one in five teens has taken a prescription drug without a prescription. And they're not getting them on the streets.

"A very high percentage of young people who are found in possession of prescription drugs say they got it from a family member or a friend, or a friend got it from a family member or a friend either willingly or just taken out of a medicine cabinet," said Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney Eastern District of California

An estimated 200 million prescriptions for painkillers were written in 2009. That's up from just 40 million in 1991.


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