Survey: Prescription drug abuse major problem among teens

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A pilot program is shedding light on the drug abuse problem in Las Vegas valley schools.

8 News NOW first brought you the story earlier this year when Roseman University was conducting in-depth surveys at public schools across the state.

Now, researchers are analyzing the findings.

The point of the survey is to better understand the patterns of abuse and types of behavior in order to prevent them.

One of the big takeaways: There are different trends in rural and urban schools.

Xavior Labrador has a passion that keeps him busy and out of trouble.

“In band, it teaches you discipline. There’s leadership goals,” Labrador said.

Despite his busy schedule, the 16-year-old says drugs are hard to miss at school. But he turns a blind eye.

“I know the consequences of doing drugs.”

In fact, the findings of a new survey show if students understand the dangers, they are less likely to use drugs.

“Our data suggests to this point that there is a correlation between increased perception of risk with decreased use,” said Dr. Jeffery Talbot, Roseman University of Health Sciences.

Doctor Jeffery Talbot is the director of the research center on substance abuse and depression at Roseman University.

He calls medicine cabinets the new drug dealers.

“What we’re finding, the most likely source for prescription medication for a child who misuses it, is a non-financial transaction.”

Early results from the survey, show rural high school students are more likely to abuse their own prescribed medication whereas urban students are more likely to abuse someone else’s.

Doctor Talbot says the findings prove why prevention programs must be customized.

“From a drug prevention standpoint, those are two different adolescent populations that need to be educated in a different way from one another,” Talbot said.

Preliminary findings also show the prescription drug of choice can vary by zip code. However, Doctor Talbot says one thing is true for the entire state:

“Prescription drug abuse, regardless of community, is a tremendous problem.”

A tremendous problem that Xavior is keeping at bay.

“I’m not that kind of person.”

There is a senate bill making it’s ways through the legislature that would make this survey a requirement at every public high school and middle school across the state.

 

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