Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teens, young adults who abuse prescription at high risk for overdose: NYC study

Date:
September 2, 2014
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Overdose-related knowledge and experiences of young adult nonmedical prescription opioid users has been studied for the first time to better understand how prescription opioid use relates to the likelihood and experience of overdose.

The prevalence of opioid-involved overdoses has become an increasing concern to health officials both in NYC and nationally. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the number of unintentional opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2011 was nearly triple the number of such deaths in 2000. Much of the increase has been attributed to a dramatic rise in nonmedical prescription opioid (PO) use among teens and young adults, and, more recently, in heroin use among youth who transitioned from POs to heroin.

Related Articles


Now researchers affiliated with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) and the NYC-based National Development Research Institutes (NDRI) have published a study in the International Journal of Drug Policy exploring for the first time overdose-related knowledge and experiences of young adult nonmedical PO users to better understand how PO use relates to the likelihood and experience of overdose. The subjects (n=46) were between the ages of eighteen and thirty-two, all resided in NYC, and were engaged in nonmedical PO use in the past 30 days.

The study, "High Risk and Little Knowledge: Overdose Experiences and Knowledge among Young Adult Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Users," used a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews to explore the group's overdose experiences, as well as their knowledge of and experience with opioid safety/overdose prevention services and practices. The researchers also gauged subjects' knowledge of naloxone, a specific opioid receptor antagonist used to reverse an opioid overdose.

"We found that despite significant overdose experiences, nonmedical PO users were uninformed about overdose awareness, avoidance, and response strategies, especially the use of naloxone. Prevention efforts should provide education about overdose prevention and access to naloxone to young PO misusers." said Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, PhD, principal investigator with CDUHR and NDRI.

The extent of this high risk group's lack of knowledge is troubling. In most cases, when asked about their experience with overdose, participants described utilizing various potentially ineffective folk methods, such as slapping the individual or placing them in a cold shower, to revive individuals who appeared to have experienced an overdose. Notably, multiple participants mentioned the popular film Pulp Fiction, which includes a highly fictionalized and inaccurate overdose reversal scene, highlighting the extent to which mass media depictions often function as salient sources of drug-related knowledge for this population. When asked if he or she had ever heard of naloxone, one participant responded "No. Is that like the adrenalin?"

Looking to explain this deficit, researchers looked to the educational resources, mainly harm reduction organizations and syringe exchange programs (SEPs), available to participants and why they had failed to engage in them. Researchers found their participants seemed to represent a different subpopulation from those traditionally served by such organizations.

"Many participants drew clear distinctions between nonmedical PO use and heroin use, and even those who transitioned to heroin tended to maintain identity-based distinctions between themselves and those they perceived as 'junkies,' David Frank, co-investigator in the project, explains. "Their desire to uphold this distinction affected their willingness to utilize such services, which are often stigmatized."

Furthermore, many participants were opioid dependent, yet did not engage in injection drug use; therefore, despite being at risk for overdose, they were outside of the traditional purview of SEPs/harm reduction organizations.

The researchers emphasize the need for efforts to increase overdose prevention and response education for young nonmedical PO users, especially those who initiated opioid use with POs, by expanding existing resources outside the realm of the traditional centers. This would better address the less marginalized/stigmatized group of drug users studied.

"Given that every participant in the study had attended at least some high school, with half having attended at least some college, we believe the development of high school and college education programs that offer harm reduction training and distribute naloxone could contribute to overdose prevention efforts," said Dr. Mateu-Gelabert.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Frank, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Honoria Guarino, Alex Bennett, Travis Wendel, Lauren Jessell, Anastasia Teper. High risk and little knowledge: Overdose experiences and knowledge among young adult nonmedical prescription opioid users. International Journal of Drug Policy, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.07.013

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Teens, young adults who abuse prescription at high risk for overdose: NYC study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151212.htm>.
New York University. (2014, September 2). Teens, young adults who abuse prescription at high risk for overdose: NYC study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151212.htm
New York University. "Teens, young adults who abuse prescription at high risk for overdose: NYC study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151212.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins