Ann Arbor, MI—Having a prescription for opioids prior to 12th grade is independently associated with future opioid misuse, even among teenage patients with little drug experience and who disapprove of illegal drug use. That’s according to a new study, published recently in the journal Pediatrics, finding that legitimate opioid use before high school graduation is independently associated with a 33% increase in the risk of future opioid misuse after high school. The study team, led by University of Michigan researchers, focused on prospective, panel data from the “Monitoring the Future” study, which uses a nationally representative sample of 6,220 individuals surveyed in school in 12th grade and then followed up through age 23. Study authors call for clinic-based education and prevention efforts, noting that those have substantial potential to reduce future opioid misuse.

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