Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Addiction
Volume 2014, Article ID 156954, 8 pages
Research Article

Correlates and Consequences of Opioid Misuse among High-Risk Young Adults

1Division of Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, MS No. 94, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
2Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, 9245 Sky Park Court, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
3Department of Psychology, Temple University, 1801 N Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
4Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, 5000 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
5Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1975 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
6Department of Community Health and Prevention, School of Public Health, Drexel University, 1505 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA

Received 30 June 2014; Revised 1 November 2014; Accepted 1 November 2014; Published 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: James Zacny

Copyright © 2014 Sheree M. Schrager et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Prescription opioids are the most frequently misused class of prescription drug among young adults aged 18–25, yet trajectories of opioid misuse and escalation are understudied. We sought to model opioid misuse patterns and relationships between opioid misuse, sociodemographic factors, and other substance uses. Methods. Participants were 575 young adults age 16–25 who had misused opioids in the last 90 days. Latent class analysis was performed with models based on years of misuse, recency of misuse, and alternate modes of administration within the past 12 months, 3 months, and 30 days. Results. Four latent classes emerged that were differentially associated with heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine use, tranquilizer misuse, daily opioid misuse, and opioid withdrawal. Alternate modes of administering opioids were associated with increased risk for these outcomes. Sociodemographic factors, homelessness, prescription history, and history of parental drug use were significantly associated with riskier opioid misuse trajectories. Conclusion. Young adults who reported more debilitating experiences as children and adolescents misused opioids longer and engaged in higher risk alternate modes of administering opioids. Data on decisions both to use and to alter a drug’s form can be combined to describe patterns of misuse over time and predict important risk behaviors.