State says fewer Ohio teens abusing painkillers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fewer Ohio teens are abusing prescription painkillers and using heroin as efforts to address such abuse appear to be working, according to the state Health Department’s most recent youth risk survey.

In less welcome news, the survey also found that nearly one out of every two Ohio teens has texted or emailed while driving a car, and not enough teens are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and getting enough daily exercise.

About 13 percent of students reported using prescription painkillers at least once last year, down from about 21 percent in 2011, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s 2013 Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The survey also found that the number of teens reporting they used heroin had decreased from 3.1 percent to 2 percent.

About one in five teens reported that they had recently used marijuana, a figure unchanged for the past 20 years. Fifteen percent of teens said they had smoked cigarettes on one or more days in the past month, down considerably from past years but unchanged since 2011, the study found.

The study found that 46 percent of teens reported texting or emailing while driving, a new question asked in 2013. But the number of teens saying they never or rarely used seatbelts fell below 10 percent, and fewer than one in five teens had ridden with someone who had been drinking.

Most teens reported feeling safe at school, though one in five were bullied on school property in 2013 and 15 percent said they’d been bullied online.

Fewer than 20 percent of students reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times a day, while a quarter said they eat fast food three or more times a week.

Only one in four students got an hour of physical activity a day and one in three were overweight or obese.




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