A new research report identifies patterns in the misuse of drugs, illicit and prescription drugs. This is the first report to compare patterns of prescription and illicit drug misuse among high risk young adults who are already abusing prescription drugs. The researchers suggest that drug treatment providers should be aware of this pattern of drug use to help them treat patients more effectively.
The researchers interviewed 596 young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 in Los Angeles and New York who had misused prescription drugs within the past three months. The study included interviews with three high risk groups of young adults – injection drug users, homeless persons and polydrug users. The study results showed that participants commonly received prescriptions for opioids, tranquilizers and stimulants, prior to misusing these drugs. Using prescription and illicit drugs at the same time was common in young adults in Los Angeles and New York. Drug users tended to use an illicit drug that gave a similar effect as the prescription drug they were already misusing.