Young adult opioid misuse indicates a general tendency toward substance use and is strongly predicted by general substance use risk

Danielle Pandika, Jennifer A. Bailey, Sabrina Oesterle, Margaret R. Kuklinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To examine whether young adult opioid misuse reflects a general tendency toward substance use and is influenced by general substance use risk or whether it is a different phenomenon from other drug use. Methods: At ages 23 (2016) and 26 (2019), a panel of young adults (n = 3794 to 3833) in the United States self-reported their past-month substance use (opioid misuse, heavy drinking, cigarettes, cannabis) and substance-specific risk factors (perceptions of harm; approval of use; and use of each substance by friends and romantic partners). Structural equation models examined non-opioid and opioid-specific associations between latent risk and substance use factors. Results: Opioid misuse and opioid-specific risk factors shared significant variance with latent substance use and latent substance use risk, respectively, which were strongly associated. A statistically significant residual correlation between opioid-specific risk and opioid misuse remained. Conclusion: Young adult opioid misuse reflects a general tendency toward substance use and is strongly predicted by risk for substance use. Opioid-specific risk factors play only a small independent role. Existing evidence-based substance use interventions may be effective in preventing opioid misuse among young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109442
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume235
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • General substance use
  • Opioid and substance
  • Prevention of opioid misuse
  • Risk for opioid misuse
  • Young adult opioid misuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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