Nonmedical prescription drug use in a nationally representative sample of adolescents: Evidence of greater use among rural adolescents

Jennifer R. Havens, April M. Young, Christopher E. Havens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To compare the prevalence of nonmedical prescription drug use among adolescents residing in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the United States and to determine factors independently associated with rural nonmedical prescription drug use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Design: Cross-sectional, population-based survey. Setting: Noninstitutionalized residents in the United States. Participants: Participants included adolescents aged 12 to 17 years (N = 17 872), most of whom were residing in urban areas (53.2%), male (51%), and white (59%). Main Exposure: Living in rural compared with urban area. Main Outcome Measures: Nonmedical use of prescription drugs (pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants). Data were from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Results: Rural adolescents were 26% more likely than urban adolescents to have used prescription drugs nonmedically (adjusted odds ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.57) even after adjustment for race, health, and other drug and alcohol use. When examining the rural adolescents in particular, factors positively associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs included decreased health status, major depressive episode(s), and other drug (marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and inhalants) and alcohol use. Protective factors for nonmedical prescription drug use among rural adolescents included school enrollment and living in a 2-parent household. Conclusions: Rural adolescents were significantly more likely than urban adolescents to report nonmedical prescription drug use. However, these results suggest there are multiple potential points of intervention to prevent initiation or progression of use among rural adolescents including preventing school dropout, increased parental involvement, and increased access to health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Volume165
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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