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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: Study Reveals Urban Hotspots of High-Schoolers’ Opioid Use

A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that in several cities and counties the proportion of high schoolers who have ever used heroin or misused prescription opioids is much higher than the national average.

The study found that about one in every five white or Latina high school girls in Duval County, Florida, which includes Jacksonville, have misused prescription opioids, while more than 10 percent of Latino high school boys in Duval County and black high school boys in Baltimore, Maryland, have used heroin at least once.

The data used in the study were from 21 cities or counties—20 of which had survey data on heroin use, and 20 of which had survey data on non-medical use of prescription opioids. National data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that two percent of U.S. high schoolers report having used heroin at least once.

The findings, published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, are based on survey data gathered in 2017 under the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which includes school-based surveys of U.S. students in grades 9 to 12.

“These figures show that as part of the effort to address the opioid crisis, our public health planning and interventions should consider the needs of young people who have been caught up in the epidemic,” says study senior author Dr. Renee M. Johnson, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health.

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