June 14, 2012

College student painkiller abuse linked to depression, suicide

Following a recent study that will be published in the August 2012 issue of Addictive Behaviors: An International Journal, researchers have found a link between prescription drug abuse in college students and depression and suicidal thoughts.

According to Science Daily, Western Illinois University Department of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Amanda Divin and her colleague, Keith Zullig, an associate professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health decided to take up the study of painkiller abuse in college students as it is a growing trend on most college campuses.

Using data from the fall 2008 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment, the study sampled data from 26,000 randomly selected students from 40 campuses in the U.S.

The students were asked about their prescription drug abuse — painkillers, stimulants, sedatives and antidepressants — (all non-medical) and mental health symptoms within the last year.

Researchers found 13 percent of the college-student respondents reported non-medical prescription drug use, with those who reported the feeling hopeless, sad, depressed or considered suicide being significantly more likely to report non-medical use of any prescription drug.

“Considering how common prescription sharing is on college campuses and the prevalence of mental health issues during the college years, more investigation in this area is definitely warranted,” Divin says. “Our study is just one of the many first steps in exploring the relationship between non-medical prescription drug use and mental health.”

Click here to read the full article in Science Daily.

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