217533 Prescription medication misuse: Time for an expanded conceptualization?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Richard Goldsworthy, PhD, MSEd , Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN
Background. Prescription medication misuse and abuse have received increased attention: inclusion in screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) approaches; increased research describing diversion/illicit use; mass media prevention campaigns; and calls to include abuse and diversion items in national survey instruments. Such efforts focus on non-medical use of abusable prescription medications to the exclusion of medical use of medications by individuals without a prescription. This study examined such non-recreational, medical use and compared it to non-medical abuse. Method. Intercept interviews were conducted among 3423 individuals aged 14-45 across the United States. Non-prescribed use, reasons for use, and sources of medication were assessed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to describe and compare patterns of use. Results. Usage pattern models were developed. Participants were three times more likely to participate in medical rather than non-medical misuse. Three of the 4 most common medications used without a prescription were not in commonly abusable classes. The majority obtained the medications from family or friends, a finding which varied by medication-type. Several other outcomes varied by participant characteristics. Discussion. Non-prescribed, medical use of prescription medications occurs more frequently than non-medical use. While not as sensational nor perhaps as consequential as abuse of psychotherapeutic medications (although that remains to be investigated and participants reported frequent side-effects), such unprescribed (mis)use is an under-examined, poorly understood, public health concern, and our results suggest that an expanded conceptualization of prescription medication misuse is merited and this more inclusive perspective may benefit researchers and healthcare providers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
describe research examining use of prescription drugs by individuals for which they are not prescribed differentiate between recreational/illicit and non-recreational/medical diversion and compare rates of engagement in these activities among the general population discuss the need to expand our typical conceptualization of prescription drug misuse to include non-recreational sharing

Keywords: Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the principal investigator on the CDC funded research effort and have 15+ years experience conducting and reporting a wide range of health-related behavior and behavioral change research efforts.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.