One of every eight high school seniors has used a painkilling drug they didn’t have a prescription for, according to new research. Many began taking these prescription medications when they were 16 or 17. The findings, based on two national studies, found that 13 percent of high school seniors have illicitly taken powerful painkillers such as oxycontin and codeine. Abuse of such drugs is pretty apparent in mortality statistics. In 2008, 14,800 people died because they overdosed on painkillers—three times the number who did so 20 years ago. “The non-medical use of controlled medications in (teens) has surpassed almost all illicit drugs except for marijuana,” says Dr. Robert Fortuna, a pediatrician from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “It’s just an alarming trend.” (Reuters)

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Paul Asay has written for Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. He writes about culture for Plugged In and has published several books, including his newest, Burning Bush 2.0 (Abingdon), available now. He lives in Colorado Springs. Check out his entertainment blog at Patheos.com/Blogs/WatchingGod or follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.