Teens in Rural Areas are More Likely to Abuse Prescription Drugs

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Teens living in rural areas are more likely than teens in urban areas to abuse prescription drugs, according to a national survey.

Nearly 18,000 young people were studied in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The Survey found that 13 percent of rural teens reported using drugs in a nonmedical way at some point in their lives. Only 11.5 percent of teens in the suburbs and 10.3 percent in cities reported using drugs non-medically.  Race and ethnicity did not appear to be significant factors in this study.

Teens mostly used tranquilizers such as diazepam and opioid painkillers, according to the Archives of Pediatrics and Medicine.

Researchers found this remarkable geographic difference only in the use of prescription drugs. They found geography played no role in the use of illegal drugs or alcohol. 

Although meth use in rural areas has been sensationalized, the study shows meth was the least popular drug. Less than one percent of teens reported having used meth, compared with the four percent who said they’ve used a hallucinogen and the 10 percent who’ve used inhalants and prescription pain meds. 

And alcohol remains the number one substance of choice for teens.  About 40 percent of all teens surveyed admit they've had a drink at some point.

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