Three-Fourths of High School Students Who Use Heroin Have Also Used Painkillers

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.”

Full story of high school students using pain killers and heroin at drugfree.org

Veterans Say VA Decision to Cut Back on Opioid Prescriptions Leaves Them in Pain

The federal government’s effort to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions among U.S. veterans has left many of them struggling with chronic pain, the Star Tribune reports.

The Minneapolis VA Medical Center has been cutting dosages and cancelling prescriptions, and instead steering many veterans to alternative therapies such as yoga and acupuncture. But these services are in short supply. The medical center has one chiropractor on staff for the more than 90,000 veterans it serves annually.

While prescription drug addiction among veterans dropped after the policy change, veterans say they are left to deal with pain on their own, or seek other sources to relieve their pain, the newspaper reports.

Full story of VA cutting back on opioid prescriptions at drugfree.org