"I had seen a lot on the news about pain killers and drug abuse," Thomas Stewart said. "I felt like there was still a lack of information on what demographic is using and how they are accessing these drugs." He, an SDSU grad with a master's in social work, and Mark Reed, an associate professor in SDSU's School of Social Work, decided to study the non-medical use of prescription drugs. By gathering research at University of North Carolina on Americans ages 18 to 25, they determined information they found shocking. As told on medicalxpress.com, Stewart says, "I found it very surprising that individuals who had recently experienced a financial hardship were more likely to engage in abuse of these drugs."
As well, they determined, "More people die from prescription overdoses than illicit anxiety prescription stimulants, opioids and depressants," Reed said.
While non-prescription drugs are considered drugs were not prescribed to the individual or not prescribed for that purpose, results showed that more than 17 percent of the respondents said they had used a prescription drug without a prescription at some point in their lives. And the most commonly abused prescription drugs were painkillers and prescription opioids. Nearly 15 percent of respondents had used these drugs, which are considered the most deadly, according to Reed.
The more they looked into the research, the more info they found that was contradictory to what they originally believed.
Parents education level was a big factor in whether or not these young adults were using. As their parent's level of education increased, so did the use of non-prescription tranquilizers and stimulants. Also unexpected: Health insurance was negatively associated with the use of non-prescription drugs. Meaning people with better insurance and easier access to these drugs were less likely to abuse these drugs.
Access to these drugs is a huge problem. Because the most susceptible demographic in America is young adults, Reed encourages preventative educational programming and prescription drug monitoring programs in high schools.
Their solution: "Many states have strong information logging regulations, said Reed, which help keep track of who has these drugs and who is allowed to take them. If this logging is done correctly, he believes that less abuse of these drugs would continue."
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