Objectives: We identified the prevalence of nonmedical prescription drug use and its relationship to heroin and injection drug use in 4 nationally representative samples of adolescents. Methods: We used the most recent data (2009-2015) from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
(Ntotal= 61,132). Prevalence rates and 95% confidence intervals for prescription drug misuse, heroin use, and injection drug use were calculated across time points, sex, and race/ethnicity subgroups. Using odds ratios, we determined the likelihood of youth reporting nonmedical prescription
drug use also reporting heroin and drug injection. Results: In 2015, one in 6 adolescents reported recent prescription drug misuse. High rates of nonmedical prescription drug use persisted or increased among Hispanic boys, black boys, and "other" youth, while declining among white youth. Youth
who used prescription drugs nonmedically at least once were 17.5 times more likely to have used heroin (CI: 13.7, 22.4) and 14.6 times more likely to have injected drugs (CI: 11.2, 19.2) in their lifetime. Conclusions: Public health programming focused on reducing prescription drug misuse
also may reduce youth engagement in heroin and/or injection drug use. Preventive efforts to support communities of color in reducing rates of prescription drug misuse are crucial.
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INJECTED DRUG USE;
PRESCRIPTION DRUG USE
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Department of Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
National Development and Research Institutes, Incorporated, New York, NY, USA
January 1, 2018
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The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.
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