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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp e121–e126 | Cite as

Recreational use of prescription medications among Canadian young people: Identifying disparities

  • Ariel Pulver
  • Colleen DavisonEmail author
  • William Pickett
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: While the recreational use of prescription medications is widely recognized as a growing public health issue, there are limited epidemiological studies on patterns of use in Canada, particularly studies identifying populations at highest risk. The objective of this study was to describe recreational prescription drug use among Canadian adolescents by age, sex, socio-economic, immigration and geographic status.

METHODS: Data were obtained from grade 9 and 10 students participating in the 2009/2010 cycle of the nationally representative Canadian Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (n=10,429). Students were asked about past-year recreational use of pain relievers, stimulants and sedative/tranquilizer medications. Cross-tabulations and multi-level Poisson regression were conducted to evaluate the prevalence of use and to explore disparities.

RESULTS: Approximately 7% of students reported past-year recreational use of one or more prescription medication(s). Females reported 1.25 times the risk of recreational use of pain relievers as compared with males (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.51). Students of lower socio-economic status (SES) were 2.41 times more likely to report recreational use of any type of medication (95% CI: 1.94–2.99). Recreational use of pain reliever medications was highest among rural youth living in close proximity to urban centres. Rates for all medications were similar between immigrant and non-immigrant students.

CONCLUSIONS: Recreational prescription drug use disproportionately affects certain subgroups of youth, including females, those of lower SES and those in some rural settings more than others. These results provide foundational data to inform preventive efforts aimed at management of the non-medical use and divergence of prescription medications.

Keywords

Adolescence epidemiology substance abuse prescription drug misuse 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: L’usage récréatif des médicaments sur ordonnance est largement reconnu comme étant un problème de santé publique en croissance, mais il y a peu d’études épidémiologiques sur les types de consommation au Canada, tout particulièrement d’études axées sur les populations les plus à risque. Nous avons cherché à décrire la consommation de médicaments sur ordonnance à des fins récréatives chez les adolescents canadiens selon l’âge, le sexe, le statut socioéconomique, le statut d’immigrant et l’emplacement géographique.

MÉTHODE: Nos données sont celles des élèves de 9e et de 10e année ayant participé au cycle 2009–2010 de l’Étude sur les comportements de santé des jeunes d’âge scolaire au Canada (n=10 429). Ces élèves ont répondu à des questions sur leur usage récréatif d’analgésiques, de stimulants et de sédatifs ou de tranquillisants au cours de l’année antérieure. Des tabulations en croix et des régressions de Poisson à niveaux multiples ont permis d’évaluer la prévalence de la consommation et d’en explorer les disparités.

RÉSULTATS: Environ 7 % des élèves ont déclaré avoir consommé un ou plusieurs médicaments sur ordonnance à des fins récréatives au cours de l’année antérieure. Les filles ont été 1,25 fois plus susceptibles que les garçons de déclarer avoir consommé des analgésiques à des fins récréatives (intervalle de confiance [IC] de 95 %: 1,04–1,51). Les élèves de faible statut socioéconomique (SSE) ont été 2,41 fois plus susceptibles de déclarer avoir consommé n’importe quel type de médicament à des fins récréatives (IC de 95 %: 1,94–2,99). L’usage récréatif des analgésiques était le plus élevé chez les jeunes des milieux ruraux vivant tout près de centres urbains. Les taux de consommation de tous les médicaments étaient semblables chez les élèves immigrants et non immigrants.

CONCLUSIONS: La consommation de médicaments sur ordonnance à des fins récréatives touche démesurément certains sous-groupes de jeunes, dont les filles, les élèves de faible SSE et les jeunes vivant dans certains milieux ruraux. Ces résultats fournissent des données de base pour éclairer les efforts de prévention visant la prise en charge de l’usage non médical des médicaments sur ordonnance et la divergence de ces médicaments.

Mots clés

adolescence épidémiologie abus de substances mésusage de médicaments sur ordonnance 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ariel Pulver
    • 1
  • Colleen Davison
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • William Pickett
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanadaCanada
  2. 2.Clinical Research CentreKingston General HospitalKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Emergency MedicineQueen’s University, Kingston General HospitalKingstonCanada

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