Pre-Incarceration Rates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs among Black Men from Urban Counties

Paris Wheeler, Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Joi Sheree’ Knighton, Carlos Mahaffey, Dominiqueca Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


There are inconsistent findings regarding the rates of nonmedical prescription drug use (NMPDU) among Black Americans. The majority of previous studies used pharmaceutical names of drugs and relied on national data that excludes incarcerated populations, in which Black men are overrepresented. Therefore, the current study aimed to describe pre-incarceration rates of NMPDU among Black men in prison using culturally relevant alternative drug names. We recruited 208 incarcerated (adult age 18 or older) Black men nearing community reentry to urban counties from four state prisons in Kentucky. Results indicated the majority of participants engaged in lifetime NMPDU. The most commonly endorsed class of prescription drug was, “Other Sedatives, Hypnotics, and Tranquilizers” and the most commonly endorsed specific prescription drugs were “Syrup,” Lortab/Hydrocodone, and Xanax. There were significant age differences in the number of days that drugs were used in the year prior to incarceration. The current study contributes to the dearth of literature on NMPDU among Black Americans. These findings have implications for disease transmission, overdose risk, and culturally relevant data collection methods and interventions aimed at reducing NMPDU among Black men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-453
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge research support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse with the National Institutes of Health under award number K08DA032296. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The New York Academy of Medicine.


  • African American
  • Black
  • Men
  • Nonmedical
  • Prescription drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Pre-Incarceration Rates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs among Black Men from Urban Counties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this