Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Social Networks May Influence Youth Who Transition to Injection Drugs

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Social Networks May Influence Youth Who Transition to Injection Drugs

Article excerpt

REPORTING FROM CPDD 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Youth and young adults who have transitioned from prescription drug misuse to injection drug use tend to reside in dense social networks, results from a novel study suggest.

"A lot of what we know about the transition from prescription opioids to drug use is from populations that have already transitioned to injection drug use, and we're asking them retrospectively to tell us about their use," lead study author Alia Al-Tayyib, PhD, said in an interview at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

"About 80% of people who are injecting drugs started with prescription drug misuse, but we don't have a lot of information about people who just used prescription opioids but didn't transition to injection drug use."

In an effort to examine the transition from prescription opioid misuse to injection drug use from a social network perspective, Dr. Al-Tayyib and her associates recruited Denver area residents aged 1524 years to participate in the Social Networks of Abused Prescription Pills in Youth study between October 2015 and April 2017. Participants were recruited via direct outreach and respondent-driven sampling, which is a peer-referral sampling methodology. Individuals were eligible to participate if they were currently misusing prescription opioids or were currently using heroin after a period of prescription opioid misuse.

Study participants completed interviewer-administered behavioral and social network surveys. People from whom data were collected were referred to as "egos," and they provided information on people in their social networks called "alters." As a social network prompt, for example, study participants were asked to "think about people you have contact with who have been involved in your life in a significant way during the past month. …

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