Driving under the influence of prescription drugs used nonmedically: associations in a young adult sample.
Subst Abus. 2015;36(1):99-105
Authors: Benotsch EG, Martin AM, Koester S, Mason MJ, Jeffers AJ, Snipes DJ
BACKGROUND: Over the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD). However, minimal attention has been given to driving under the influence of prescription drugs used nonmedically.
METHODS: This study examines attitudes and characteristics that might be associated with driving while engaging in NMUPD. College students (N = 763) aged 18-25 years completed online surveys assessing demographic information, NMUPD, recreational use of other drugs, psychological variables, attitudes towards NMUPD and driving, and driving behavior.
RESULTS: Overall, 28.0% of participants reported lifetime NMUPD; 12.2% reported ever driving while engaging in NMUPD; and 7.9% reported this behavior in the past 3 months. Participants who reported engaging in NMUPD while driving were significantly more likely to report the use of alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, GHB (γ-hydroxybutyric acid), rohypnol, and mephedrone. These participants also scored higher on measures of hopelessness, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. Individuals who engaged in NMUPD while driving also reported lower perceptions of the risks of this behavior and believed that NMUPD is more common in young adults.
CONCLUSIONS: A significant percentage of college students engage in driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Public health interventions designed to increase driving safety may wish to focus attention on this type of drugged driving.
PMID: 24965058 [PubMed - in process]