261762 Contrasting patterns of drug use among high-risk young adults

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stephen E. Lankenau, PhD , Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University, School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Karol Silva, MPH , School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Sheree M. Schrager, MS, PhD , Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Aleksandar Kecojevic, MPH, DrPH(c) , Department of Community Health, Drexel School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Introduction: Previous research indicates that drug use is high among young adults who are homeless and/or injection drug users (IDU). However, no studies have examined whether being homeless and/or an IDU results in increased risk of using particular drug types, e.g., heroin, cocaine, or prescription drugs, e.g., opioids, tranquilizers. Methods: Young adults aged 16-25 who had misused one or more prescription drugs at least three times in the past 90 days were interviewed in Los Angeles and New York between October 2009 and March 2011. Sampling was stratified to capture a range of young adults of differing risk profiles. The final sample consisted of 596 individuals who were: housed non-IDU (n=206); housed IDU (n=35); homeless non-IDU (n=188); and homeless IDU (n=167). Results: Homeless status was significantly associated with growing up poor and not graduating from high school. Homeless non-IDU status was significantly associated with being non-white and a sexual minority. Regarding drug use, IDUs were at significantly increased odds to misuse prescription opioids, prescription tranquilizers, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in the past 30 days. In contrast, homeless participants were at significantly increased odds to use heroin, methamphetamine, and mushrooms in the past 30 days. A significant interaction effect revealed that housed non-IDUs were most likely to misuse prescription stimulants in the past 30 days. Conclusion: High-risk young adults do not engage in uniform patterns of drug use. Important contrasts in socio-demographic characteristics and patterns of recent drug use were revealed by sampling young adults with different risk profiles.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify key contrasting patterns of drug use among different groups of high-risk young adults.

Keywords: Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on the study and have been conducting drug research on high-risk populations for the past 15 years.
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.