A new study shows that young adults who were prescribed painkillers, or were raised in a home were drug use or alcohol abuse was present, were more likely to struggle with drug addiction. A team of researchers from Drexel University’s School of Public Health found that a family history of addiction was also a factor that led to the use of injected drugs. Dr. Stephen Lankenau, a researcher on the study, said, “Participants were commonly raised in households where misuse of prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol, was normalized.” He added, “Access to prescription medication – either from a participant’s own source, a family member or a friend – was a key feature to initiation into prescription drug misuse.”
The study revealed that peer pressure and the opportunity for financial gain as a result of the sale of opioids, along with a curiosity to engage in drug use, increased the likelihood of opioid abuse. The researchers discovered two key factors in their study. First, nearly all of the injected drug users (IDU’s) in the study had used an opioid prior to becoming addicted to heroin. Additionally, one quarter of the IDU’s reported that opioids were the first type of drug that they injected when they began their drug use. The 50 participants, all between the age of 16 and 25, were recruited from outdoor environments, were mostly homeless and jobless and all had a history of prescription drug use. Most of the subjects had a previous diagnosis of a psychological problem, such as anxiety, ADHD or depression and had been raised in an environment where drug and alcohol misuse were prevalent. The researchers believe that these findings emphasize the need for prevention methods during adolescence and stress the importance of safeguarding all medications. They believe that parents must be vigilant in their efforts to keep children free from environments of drug and alcohol use in order to prevent them from developing addictions later in life.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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