Medical and Nonmedical Use of Prescription Pain Medication by Youth in a Detroit-area Public School District

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Jan 4;81(1):37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.05.017. Epub 2005 Jul 22.


The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the nonmedical use of prescription pain medications in a sample of public school students in the Detroit metropolitan area. The Web-based survey occurred during a two-week period in May 2003 and drew on a diverse population between the ages of 10 and 18 years. An 87% response rate was achieved, providing a final sample of 1017 students. Twenty-two percent of girls and 10% of boys reported lifetime nonmedical use of a pain medication (chi2 = 25.2, d.f. = 1, p < 0.001). Fifteen percent of girls and 7% of boys reported past year nonmedical use (chi2 = 12.7, d.f. = 1, p < 0.01). Compared to nonusers, nonmedical users of prescription pain medication were seven times more likely to smoke cigarettes, five times more likely to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, almost four times more likely to binge drink, and eight times more likely to have used other illicit drugs. Of those reporting lifetime nonmedical use of prescription pain medication, 70% noted how they obtained the drugs; 34% reported getting the drugs from a family member, 17% from a friend and 14% from a dealer or theft.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Analgesics* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Data Collection
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Michigan
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*


  • Analgesics
  • Illicit Drugs