Prevalence and correlates of benzodiazepine use and misuse among young adults who use prescription opioids non-medically.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 02 01; 183:73-77.DA
Benzodiazepine use dramatically increases the risk of unintentional overdose among people who use opioids non-medically. However, little is known about the patterns of co-occurring benzodiazepine and opioid use among young adults in the United States.
The Rhode Island Young Adult Prescription Drug Study (RAPiDS) was a cross-sectional study from January 2015-February 2016. RAPiDS recruited 200 young adults aged 18-29 who reported past 30-day non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use. Using Wilcoxon rank sum test and Fisher's exact test, we examined correlates associated with regular prescribed and non-medical use (defined as at least monthly) of benzodiazepines among NMPO users in Rhode Island.
Among participants, 171 (85.5%) reported lifetime benzodiazepine use and 125 (62.5%) reported regular benzodiazepine use. Nearly all (n=121, 96.8%) reported non-medical use and 43 (34.4%) reported prescribed use. Compared to the 75 participants who did not regularly use benzodiazepines, participants who reported regular use were more likely to be white (66.3% vs. 58.0%, p=0.03), have ever been incarcerated (52.8% vs. 37.3%, p=0.04), and have ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder (bipolar: 29.6% vs. 16.0%, p=0.04; anxiety: 56.8 vs. 36.0%, p=0.01). Although the association was marginally significant, accidental overdose was higher among those who were prescribed the benzodiazepine they used most frequently compared to those who were not (41.9% vs. 24.4%, p=0.06).
Benzodiazepine use and misuse are highly prevalent among young adult NMPO users. Harm reduction and prevention programs for this population are urgently needed.