A preliminary analysis has concluded that over 75 percent of high school students who use heroin previously used prescription painkillers. The study’s authors implicated not only pharmaceutical opioids, but the nature of drug education in the United States, suggesting students do not trust institutional calls to refrain from drug use. Though the findings come with limitations, they further highlight the nation’s persistent, growing struggle with opiate addiction.
The study, called “Nonmedical Opioid Use and Heroin Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of US High School Seniors,” was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and analyzed data from 130 public and private schools across 48 states. The information is collected by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research Monitoring the Future (MTF), whose database serves as “an ongoing annual study of behaviors, attitudes and values of high school students in the country.”