"Any prescription drug misuse includes use of narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and/or amphetamines without medical supervision. It has been of considerable public health concern in recent years, because most of these drugs showed a substantial increase in use in the 1990s, which then continued into the first decade of the 2000s, when many of the illegal drugs already were in decline.

"Only 12th-graders report on their use of all of these drugs; they show a statistically significant decline between 2013 and 2014, from 16 percent to 14 percent, saying that they used one or more of these prescription drugs in the 12 months prior to the survey. The gradual turnaround began after 2005, when 17 percent indicated misuse of any of these drugs.

"'It's not as much progress as we might like to see, but at least the number of students using these dangerous prescription drugs is finally declining,' Johnston said.

"Narcotic drugs other than heroin—among the most dangerous of the prescription drugs—have been declining in use by 12th-graders since 2009, when 9 percent indicated using them without medical supervision in the prior 12 months. Their use continued to drop significantly, from 7 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2014. Use of these drugs is reported only for 12th grade; students are reporting that these drugs are increasingly difficult to obtain.

"Use in the prior 12 months of the specific narcotic analgesic OxyContin also declined this year, significantly so in 8th grade. OxyContin use reached a recent peak among adolescents around 2009 and use has declined since then in all three grades. The 2014 reports of use in the past 12 months stand at 1.0 percent, 3.0 percent and 3.3 percent in grades 8, 10 and 12, respectively."


Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Miech, R.A., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (December 16, 2014). Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens. University of Michigan News Service: Ann Arbor, MI.