Nonmedical prescription drug use among college students: a comparison between athletes and nonathletes

J Am Coll Health. Sep-Oct 2008;57(2):211-9. doi: 10.3200/JACH.57.2.211-220.


Objective: Given the substantial increase in nonmedical prescription drug use in recent years and a lack of research on the topic, the author analyzed data on nonmedical prescription drug use among college students.

Participants and methods: Using data from the 2001 College Alcohol Study (N = 10,904), the author examined variation in nonmedical prescription drug use on the basis of athletic involvement. Previous research shows that college athletes are at greater risk for certain types of substance use.

Results: Findings indicate that athletes are less likely to report nonmedical prescription drug use than are nonathletes.

Conclusions: This shows that involvement in athletics, especially for women, is a protective factor for substance use among college students.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Users / psychology
  • Drug Users / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prescription Drugs*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sports / psychology
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • Prescription Drugs