A survey of high school students finds 77 percent of those who use heroin say they also have used opioid painkillers for non-medical purposes.
The survey of more than 67,000 high school seniors over a five-year period found 12.4 percent reported lifetime nonmedical opioid use and 1.2 percent reported lifetime heroin use. The more often teens used opioids for nonmedical purposes, the higher the odds they also used heroin, HealthDay reports.
“The more times a teen uses nonprescribed painkiller pills, the greater the risk he or she is at for becoming dependent on the drug,” said lead researcher Joseph Palamar of New York University. “People who become dependent on painkiller pills often wind up resorting to heroin use because it’s cheaper and more available than these pills.”