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Parents Not Too Concerned About Child Abuse of Pain Meds

New poll shows that parents have lukewarm support for most policies to discourage misuse

Parents Not Too Concerned About Child Abuse of Pain Meds

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Parents are not that concerned about misuse of narcotic pain medicines by their children and teens, according to the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Matthew M. Davis, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues directed GfK Custom Research to conduct a nationally representative household survey. The survey was administered in September 2012 to a randomly selected, stratified group of parents with a child age 5 to 17 years (1,304 parents), with a response rate of 57 percent. The sample was weighted to reflect population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. A ± 2 to 4 percentage point margin of error was noted.

The researchers found that, in the last five years, 35 percent of parents said that they had received at least one pain medicine prescription for their child, and two-thirds said they had received one for themselves or another adult in the household. Overall, 35 percent of parents reported being "very concerned" about misuse of narcotic pain medicines by youth in their communities, but only 19 percent were "very concerned" about misuse in their families. For policies aimed at discouraging narcotic pain medicine misuse, 66 percent "strongly support" requiring parents to show identification when picking up narcotic pain medicine for their children, and 57 percent "strongly support" disallowing more than one doctor to prescribe such medicines. However, 47 percent "do not support" a requirement that they return unused pain medicine to the doctor or pharmacy.

"Parents' limited concern about the misuse of narcotic pain medicines, and their limited support for new strategies to disrupt children and teens' access to narcotic pain medicines, highlight the tremendous challenge of addressing this national problem," the authors write.

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