A new study out of Michigan State University found that, among adolescents, 14- and 15-year-olds are particularly vulnerable to opioid addiction.
Looking at a national sample of 42,000 respondents, the study found that 14- and 15-year-olds are two to three times more likely than 20- and 21-year olds to become dependent on prescription painkillers.
This study focused particularly on adolescents, looking at the year following the first time the teen used prescription drugs in a way that was not prescribed by a doctor.
The study, published in PeerJ, confirmed that 16- and 17-year-olds are at the highest risk for starting to abuse opioids, compared to other adolescents.
Maria Parker, a doctoral student and the led researcher on the study, says this has implications for drug prevention and treatment programs.
“If we need to focus our attention somewhere this might suggest that 14 to 17 is a good bet,” says Parker.
Michigan has struggled to combat a growing opioid problem. This past year, Governor Rick Snyder created a task force to try to address the situation.