Healthbeat

Painkiller abuse way up among American kids

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Vicodin, a painkiller, is seen in this undated file photo.

Vicodin, a painkiller, is seen in this undated file photo. (KABC Photo)

Painkiller abuse among American youth is 40 percent higher than in previous generations. It is now the second most common type of illegal drug use after marijuana.

That's according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study found there are more deaths due to accidental overdoses of prescription painkillers than due to overdoses of cocaine and heroin combined.

Authors of the study say the current generation's abuse of prescription pain medications, such as Vicodin, valium and Oxycontin, is higher than any generation ever measured.

They partly blame easy access to these drugs found in medicine cabinets.

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