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Pediatrics. 2006 Dec;118(6):2472-80.

Adolescents' motivations to abuse prescription medications.

Author information

1
Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. caroboyd@umich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Our goals were to (1) determine adolescents' motivations (reasons) for engaging in the nonmedical (illicit) use of 4 classes of prescription medications and (2) examine whether motivations were associated with a higher risk for substance abuse problems.

RESPONDENTS:

The 2005 sample (N = 1086) was derived from one ethnically diverse school district in southeastern Michigan and included 7th- through 12th-grade students.

METHODS:

Data were collected by using a self-administered, Web-based survey that included questions about drug use and the motivations to engage in nonmedical use of prescription medication.

RESULTS:

Twelve percent of the respondents had engaged in nonmedical use of opioid pain medications in the past year: 3% for sleeping, 2% as a sedative and/or for anxiety, and 2% as stimulants. The reasons for engaging in the nonmedical use of prescription medications varied by drug classification. For opioid analgesics, when the number of motives increased, so too did the likelihood of a positive Drug Abuse Screening Test score. For every additional motive endorsed, the Drug Abuse Screening Test increased by a factor of 1.8. Two groups of students were compared (at-risk versus self-treatment); those who endorsed multiple motivations for nonmedical use of opioids (at-risk group) were significantly more likely to have elevated Drug Abuse Screening Test scores when compared with those who were in the self-treatment group. Those in the at-risk group also were significantly more likely to engage in marijuana and alcohol use.

CONCLUSION:

The findings from this exploratory study warrant additional research because several motivations for the nonmedical use of prescription medications seem associated with a greater likelihood of substance abuse problems.

PMID:
17142533
PMCID:
PMC1785364
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2006-1644
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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