Which college students are at risk for prescription opioid abuse? Where do they live, how are their grades, and how do they behave? And what other risky behaviors go along with opioid abuse? (Hint: Who wants to be a grandparent?) Discover the answers from a recent and revealing study.
The American Journal on Addictions just released a study based on survey results from more than 3,500 students at a public university in the Midwest. Overall, 2.2% reported misusing prescription opioids in the last 12 months and another 5.3% reported misusing prescription opioids previously (but not in the past year). For many, the inappropriate use of prescription opioids can be the first step towards pain pill or even heroin addiction.
So, what are the risk factors associated with prescription opioid misuse? This survey found that college students who were misusing prescription opioids were more likely to live off campus, have a lower grade point average, and exhibit increased impulsivity.
Individuals misusing prescription opioids also were more likely to report earlier age of first sexual activity, and were less likely to use barrier protection during sexual activity. Impulsive college students, unprotected sex and opioid misuse…sure sounds like the perfect storm.
Forewarned is forearmed: This study offers a preemptive strike to the parents and college administrators who learn about the factors that are associated with an increased risk of opioid misuse. And the study can help university health centers develop and refine screening tools to identify those students vulnerable to prescription opioid misuse.
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