College students who use drugs prescribed for someone else are more likely to abuse other drugs

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A recent study published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reported that college students who used drugs prescribed for someone else in one of four categories were more likely to abuse other drugs than those that had not. According to the findings students had a 6.5-fold increase in the likelihood of abusing other drugs if they had used nonprescribed sedatives, opioids, stimulants or sleeping drugs. According to Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, “Clearly… appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and therapeutic monitoring of college students who are receiving abusable prescription medications is crucial, not only to improve clinical outcomes but also to help prevent the abuse of these medications within a population that is largely responsible for its own medication management.” Additionally, those students that claimed they used the nonprescribed drugs for medical and nonmedical uses were assessed to have five times the likelihood of positive screening for other drugs. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

There is also mounting evidence that nonmedical use of prescription drugs by college students is associated with abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs, he said.

Despite this evidence, there is a dearth of studies that assess drug abuse as a function of medical and nonmedical use of prescription medications, according to Dr. McCabe.

So he conducted an Internet survey of the undergraduate population of a large Midwestern university; 3,639 students, a 68% response rate, participated. Mean age was 19.9 and 53.6% were female. The respondents were 67.4% white, 12.1% Asian, 6% black, 4.2% Hispanic, and 10.2% other ethnicity.

Screening for probable drug abuse was assessed using the Drug Abuse Screening Test, Short Form. Participants who responded positively on at least three of the 10 items were considered to have had a positive screening result.

Lifetime use of at least one of the four classes of prescription drugs was distributed as follows:

* Never used one of the drugs: 40.1%
* Used only with a prescription: 39.7%
* Used both with a prescription and without: 15.8%
* Used only without a prescription: 4.4%

Click here to read the entire article from Medpage Today

Click here for information on prescription medication abuse

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