Correlates of non-medical prescription drug use among a cohort of injection drug users in Baltimore City

Nidhi Khosla, Hee Soon Juon, Gregory D. Kirk, Jacqueline Astemborski, Shruti H. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite reports of increasing non-medical prescription drug use, relatively few studies have systematically evaluated the prevalence and correlates of non-medical prescription drug use, particularly in populations that might be especially vulnerable (e.g., injection drug users [IDUs]). We examined factors associated with non-medical prescription drug use among a community-based cohort of current and former IDUs in Baltimore (The ALIVE Study). We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from cohort participants that responded to a survey that included questions on non-medical prescription drug use between 2005-06 (n = 1320). Non-medical prescription drug use was considered to be use of any of the following: Opiates (Oxycontin, Percocet), Benzodiazepines or Clonidine, purchased on the street and taken orally within the last six months. Data on other covariates of interest (e.g., demographics, substance use, general health) was obtained through a standardized interview. The median age was 46. years; 66% were male, 85% were African-American. Twenty one percent reported any non-medical prescription drug use; 12% reported using more than one drug. Non-medical use of opiates was most common (17%). In multivariate analysis, non-medical prescription drug use was significantly associated with Caucasian race (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.79), self-reported bodily pain (PR: 1.58), hazardous alcohol use (PR: 1.47), marijuana use (PR: 1.65), non-injection cocaine/heroin use (PR: 1.70), diverted use of buprenorphine (PR: 1.51) or methadone (PR: 2.51), and active injection drug use (PR: 3.50; p < 0.05 for all). The association between bodily pain and non-medical prescription drug use was stronger among persons that were not using substances (marijuana, injecting drugs, snorting/smoking heroin, cocaine, using crack) as compared to those using these substances. The high prevalence of non-medical prescription drug use among this population warrants further research and action. Information on the risks of nonmedical prescription drug use especially overdose, should be incorporated into interventions targeted at IDUs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1287
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume36
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Baltimore
  • Injection drug users
  • Non-medical prescription drug use
  • Poly-drug use
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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