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Study: OTC abuse higher among adolescent males

SAN FRANCISCO — A recent University of Cincinnati study suggested adolescent males are at a higher risk of reporting longtime abuse of over-the-counter drugs, compared with their female peers. 

Early analysis found that overall 10% of the students reported abusing over-the-counter drugs. "Findings from this study highlight and underscore OTC drugs as an increasing and significant health issue affecting young people," stated Rebecca Vidourek, a UC assistant professor of health promotion. The researchers said that high rates of OTC abuse were also found among male and female junior high school students.

The study examined over-the-counter drug use among students between the grades of seven and 12 in 133 schools across Cincinnati. The data was collected by the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati as part of the 2009-2010 Pride Survey on adolescent drug use in America. The survey was distributed to more than 54,000 students.

Early results of the study by Vidourek and Keith King, a University of Cincinnati professor of health promotion, were presented on Oct. 29 at the 140th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Francisco.

The researchers noted that youth who reported involvement in such positive activities as school clubs, sports, community and church organizations were less likely to report abusing OTC medications. Teens more likely to report taking OTC drugs were also more likely to report that they had attended parties where the drugs had been used, or had friends who abused OTC drugs.

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