Opioid use among ​Arizona high school seniors declining

May 16, 2017, 5:57 AM | Updated: May 17, 2017, 9:54 am
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)...
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Consistent with the national trend, opioid use among high school seniors in Arizona is decreasing. Yet, the abuse of such drugs remains higher than the national average.

The Arizona Youth Survey finds nearly 14 percent of Arizona high school seniors said last year they have used opioids in their lifetime, down from about 27 percent in 2010. Nationwide, nearly 8 percent of high school seniors said last year they have used opioids compared to 13 percent in 2010.

“We are seeing a steady decline but, of course, 14 percent is still a very high number for youth to be using opioids,” said Shomari Jackson, prevention specialist with Southwest Behavioral Health Services. “The fight continues to try to get that percentage even lower.”

Jackson said one of the main reasons teens use opioids is to cope with something happening in their lives.

He said one way his group is trying to reduce opioid use among teens is by educating parents about why teens use opioids and the importance of getting rid of prescription drugs they no longer need.

“Prescription drugs tend to sit around the house, and that’s the first place that youth start getting them,” Jackson said.

He also pointed out fire and police departments across the Valley accept leftover prescription drugs. Last month, Arizona participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which resulted in more than 9,500 pounds of prescription drugs being dropped off at various locations.

Jackson said his group also goes into classrooms and educates teens about the risks and consequences of using opioids. They also teach teens how to say “no” when being peer pressured into using opioids.

In addition, the group works with Gov. Doug Ducey’s office on efforts to address opioid use among high school students.

In January, the governor’s office announced it would invest about $3.5 million in substance abuse programs at Arizona high schools, which the governor’s office says is a key demographic to target when tackling the state’s opioid epidemic.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook photo/ Buckeye Police Department)...

Police investigating allegations against photographer at Buckeye school

Police said Thursday they are investigating allegations of sexual offenses by a photographer contracted by a Buckeye elementary school.
15 hours ago
Residents attend an event hosted by Arizona State University graduate design students at Academia d...
Associated Press

Low-income communities in Phoenix, other cities learn to tackle climate-fueled heat

Several nonprofit initiatives are popping up around the nation, including in Phoenix, to educate residents about climate-fueled heat that disproportionately affects low income neighborhoods of color.
15 hours ago
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)...

Rock legend Stevie Nicks postpones Phoenix concert on doctor’s orders

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks has postponed her Thursday appearance in her hometown because of illness, promoters said.
15 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix’s Operation Gun Crime Crackdown extended after nearly 1,200 firearms seized

Law enforcement agencies in Phoenix are extending Operation Gun Crime Crackdown after nearly 1,200 firearms were taken off the streets during the pilot program’s first three months.
15 hours ago
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)...

2 US citizens arrested for smuggling horse trailer full of migrants into Arizona

Two U.S. citizens were arrested in southern Arizona last week after more than 33 migrants were found inside of a horse trailer, authorities said.
15 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport)...
Griselda Zetino

New air traffic control tower is big part of Mesa Gateway Airport’s future growth plan

The new air traffic control tower at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has been operating for more than a month now, replacing one that dated back more than half a century.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Opioid use among ​Arizona high school seniors declining