Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Prescription Opioid Misuse Among College Students

Am J Addictions; ePub 2018 Oct 17; Harries, et al

A recent study identifies a number of risk factors for those misusing prescription opioids that can be used to develop and refine prescription opioid misuse screening tools for university health centers. It also identifies a number of concurring behaviors that can simultaneously be addressed when prescription opioid misusers are identified. A 156‐item survey was administered to >9,449 university students at a large, public Midwestern university. Survey questions obtained demographic information, self‐reported grade point average, sexual behavior, mental health characteristics, and substance use. 3,522 students completed the survey and were included in the analysis. Researchers found:

  • Of this group, 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.
  • This study found prescription opioid misusers to be more likely to live off campus, have a lower GPA, and exhibit increased impulsivity.
  • Prescription opioid misusers were also more likely to report earlier age of sexual activity and were less likely to use barrier protection during sexual activity.

Harries MD, Lust K, Christenson GA, Redden SA, Grant JE. Prescription opioid medication misuse among university students. [Published online ahead of print October 17, 2018]. Am J Addictions. doi:10.1111/ajad.12807.