The Effectiveness of Internet- and Field-Based Methods to Recruit Young Adults Who Use Prescription Opioids Nonmedically.Subst Use Misuse. 2018 08 24; 53(10):1688-1699.SU
Nonmedical prescription opioid (NMPO) use is a problem among young adults, yet young NMPO users are a diverse population that has been challenging to engage in overdose prevention and harm reduction programs.
This study compared the effectiveness and characteristics of persons recruited through two different sampling strategies to inform research and intervention efforts with young adult NMPO users.
We analyzed data from the Rhode Island Young Adult Prescription Drug Study (RAPiDS), which enrolled persons aged 18 to 29 who reported past 30-day NMPO use. We compared the characteristics of two samples recruited simultaneously between February 2015 and February 2016. One sample was recruited using field-based strategies (e.g., respondent-driven sampling, transit ads), and a second from internet sources (e.g., online classifieds).
Among 198 eligible participants, the median age was 25 (IQR: 22, 27), 130 (65.7%) were male, 123 (63.1%) were white, and 150 (78.1%) resided in urban areas. A total of 79 (39.9%) were recruited using field-based strategies and 119 (60.1%) were recruited from internet sources. Internet-recruited persons were younger (median = 24 [IQR: 21, 27] vs. 26 [IQR: 23, 28] years) and more likely to reside in rural areas (16.2% vs. 5.3%), although this finding was marginally significant. Field-recruited participants were more likely to have been homeless (36.7% vs. 17.7%), have been incarcerated (39.7% vs. 21.8%), and engage in daily NMPO use (34.6% vs. 14.5%).
Multipronged outreach methods are needed to engage the full spectrum of young adult NMPO users in prevention and harm reduction efforts.