Non-medical use of prescription drugs and sexual risk behavior in young adults.Addict Behav. 2011 Jan-Feb; 36(1-2):152-5.AB
In recent years, the non-medical use of prescription drugs (without a doctor's prescription) has increased dramatically, particularly in young adults. Previous work has noted associations between the non-medical use of prescription drugs and the use of illicit drugs, and associations between the use of illicit drugs and sexual risk behavior. Investigations examining associations between the non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) and sexual risk behavior are sparse. In the present study, undergraduate students (n=435) ages 18-25 completed an instrument assessing these behaviors. Overall, 35.6% of participants reported NMUPD. Individuals who reported NMUPD were more likely to also report the use of alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, and poppers. Participants who indicated they had used prescription medications without a doctor's consent had significantly higher rates of sexual risk behavior, including more sexual partners and more instances of unprotected sex in the previous 3 months. Results suggest that a significant minority of young adults are using prescription medication recreationally and are risking negative consequences, including the potential for addiction, dangerous interactions between prescription and recreational drugs, and greater risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections.