(HealthDay News) – Nearly one-quarter of teenagers misuse or abuse a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, with perceived parental permissiveness linked to misuse and abuse of prescription drugs as well as use of alcohol and marijuana, according to a report published online April 23 by The Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Researchers from the 2012 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study examined drug misuse and abuse using data from nationally projectable samples for parents and teens.

The researchers noted that 24% of teens reported having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once during their lifetime, with parent permissiveness and lax attitudes toward misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, together with ease of access to prescription medications, linked to misuse and abuse. Following considerable increases in 2009, marijuana prevalence rates have plateaued, with 45% of teenagers admitting using marijuana in their lifetime. Since 2008, there has been a 10% increase in alcohol use, with 57% of teens reporting using alcohol within the past year. Alcohol use and marijuana use were strongly linked. Perceived parental permissiveness correlated with the prevalence of marijuana use and teen alcohol use. Encouraging developing trends were reported in 2012: adolescents were more likely to disapprove of their peers’ substance abuse and were less likely to see “abusable” substances as accessible.

“Parents fear cocaine and heroin abuse and they talk about these drugs with their kids. But the truth is that when misused and abused, medicines – especially stimulants and opioids – can be every bit as harmful and just as deadly as those illicit street drugs,” Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive officer of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, said in a statement.

More Information