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Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs Among Teens

Which meds most likely lead to suicide attempt?

Adolescents are self-medicating with prescription medications or using prescription drugs non-medically, according to an analysis of data of 4,148 adolescents.

Logistic regression models revealed that:

• About 21% reported nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

• Those who reported such use were between 1.7 and 2.3 times more likely to report having ideas about suicide, but not a suicide attempt.

• Nonmedical use of pain relievers, stimulants, and depressants were significantly linked with greater odds of suicidal ideation and behavior for males and females.

• Nonmedical use of pain relievers was not associated with greater odds of suicide attempts for males or females, nor for males who reported nonmedical use of stimulants.

• Nonmedical use of depressants was linked with greater odds of suicide attempts for both males and females, as was nonmedical use of stimulants in females.

Investigators concluded that clinicians should be aware of the potential for suicide risk among males and females who use depressants and females who use stimulants.

Citation: Zullig K, Divin A, Weiller R, Haddox J, Pealer L. Adolescent nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers, stimulants, and depressants, and suicide risk. Subst Use Misuse. 2015;50(13):1678-89.