Send to

Choose Destination
J Subst Abuse Treat. 2010 Oct;39(3):236-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2010.06.004. Epub 2010 Jul 29.

Motivations for non-medical prescription drug use: a mixed methods analysis.

Author information

Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies, University of Delaware, Coral Gables, FL 33134, USA.


Despite a dramatic increase in the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among illicit drug users, their motives for abusing prescription drugs are still largely unknown. The objective of this study was to (a) determine the motivations for engaging in the nonmedical use of prescription opioids and sedatives among street-based illicit drug users, methadone maintenance patients, and residential drug treatment clients; (b) examine associations between prescription drug abuse motivations and gender, age, race/ethnicity, and user group; and (c) examine associations between specific motivations and prescription drug abuse patterns. Quantitative surveys (n = 684) and in-depth interviews (n = 45) were conducted with a diverse sample of prescription drug abusers in South Florida between March 2008 and November 2009. The three most common motivations reported were "to get high," "to sleep," and "for anxiety/stress." There were age, race/ethnicity, and gender differences by motives. Prescription drug abuse patterns were also found to be associated with specific motivations. Although additional research is needed, these findings serve to inform appropriate prevention and treatment initiatives for prescription drug abusers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center