Alcohol and illegal drug use behaviors and prescription opioids use: How do nonmedical and medical users compare, and does motive to use really matter?

Lilian A. Ghandour, Donna S. El Sayed, Silvia S. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background/Aims: This study compares illegal drug and alcohol use behaviors between medical and nonmedical users of prescription opioids (PO) and nonmedical users with distinct motives to use. Method: An ethically approved cross-sectional study (2010) was conducted on a representative sample of private university students (n = 570), using a self-filled anonymous questionnaire. Results: About 25% reported using PO only medically and 15% nonmedically. The prevalence of alcohol and illegal drug use was consistently higher among nonmedical than medical PO users. Adjusting for age and gender, lifetime medical users of PO were more likely to use marijuana only (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1, 2.8), while nonmedical users were at higher odds of using marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine/crack, and alcohol problematically. Compared to nonusers, students who took PO nonmedically for nontherapeutic reasons were more likely to use various illegal drugs, but nonmedical users who took PO to relieve pain/help in sleep were only more likely to use marijuana (OR = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1, 5.4) and alcohol (e.g. alcohol abuse; OR = 3.8, 95% CI: = 1.4, 10.1). Conclusion: Youth who use PO nonmedically to self-treat have a different alcohol and illegal drug-using profile than those who take it for nontherapeutic reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Addiction Research
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • Lebanon
  • Nonmedical use
  • Prescription opioids
  • Self-medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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