Nonmedical prescription drug use (NMPDU)has become a major public health issue but little is known in Asian populations. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of NMPDU in Taiwan. Participants from the 2014 national survey of 17,837 individuals, aged 12 to 64 year, completed anonymously a computer-assisted self-interview. Past-year prescription drug use was divided into medical use only (MUO)and nonmedical use (NMU), defined as using the drug without a prescription, or more frequently, or in larger doses than prescribed. Problematic alcohol use was measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), problematic drug use using the 20-item Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST), and depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiological Study-Depression (CES-D). The prevalence of past-year NMU was 3.02% for analgesics, 0.71% for sedatives/hypnotics, and 3.66% for either drug, with a very small overlap of NMU between analgesics and sedatives/hypnotics (0.07%). When individuals with NMU were compared to those without NMU (Non-NMU)and those with MUO, respectively, some correlates consistently identified, including young adulthood, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, and greater AUDIT's scores for analgesics, as well as hard drug use and greater DAST's scores for sedatives/hypnotics. NMU was associated with greater CES-D's scores for both analgesics and sedatives/hypnotics when compared to Non-NMU but not to MUO. Robust correlates of NMPDU could offer implications for development of prevention strategies of NMPDU.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health