Is Your Big Kid Misusing Prescription Medication?

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Half of adolescents are not using their prescription medication appropriately, according to recently released research.

The "‹study, which was published online by Quest Diagnostics, examined 2.5 million patients of all ages.

The study defines drug misuse as a situation when a patient uses or combines non-prescription drugs or skips dosages that had been recommended by a physician.

Researchers found that, specifically, patients between the ages of 10 and 17 were not using medications properly, and therefore, potentially putting their health in danger. However, the study also notes that this age group showed the most positive improvement in appropriate prescription drug usage over a four-year period when compared with other age groups. Evidence of medication misuse in adolescents dropped from 70 percent in 2011 to 52 percent in 2014. The most commonly misused drugs for this age group were marijuana and opiates.

Additionally, the average rate of drug misuse across all age groups in the United States stood at 53 percent in 2014.

"Having more options for pain relief is a great potential benefit for children experiencing significant pain," said Leland F. McClure, M.D. "But our data is also a stark reminder that diligent monitoring of prescription drug regimens in young patients is absolutely critical."

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.

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