Motivations of Opioid and Stimulant Abusers Differ

By Schneider, Mary Ellen | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Motivations of Opioid and Stimulant Abusers Differ


Schneider, Mary Ellen, Clinical Psychiatry News


BOSTON -- College students who abuse opioids do so for different reasons than students who abuse stimulants, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

Opioid users were more likely to report that they used the drugs to relax or to get high, while stimulant users were more likely to say that they used the drugs to help improve performance at school or to increase alertness.

These differences could be helpful in crafting interventions, said Julie Brevard of Inflexxion Inc., a health, science, and technology research firm that is based in Newton, Mass.

Ms. Brevard, along with principal investigator Sarah Lord, Ph.D., and colleagues at Inflexxion, conducted an online survey of college students who admitted to ever using prescription opioids and stimulants recreationally.

The survey was advertised on an online social networking forum for college students and at the 27 colleges nationwide with the highest usage of the networking forum Web site.

The researchers received 689 responses, 522 of which passed data validity checks and were analyzed. The research was funded with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

About 61% of the respondents reported that they had used both stimulants and opioids. Of the rest, 18% had used opioids only and 21% had used stimulants only. About 41% of respondents said they were regular stimulant users, which was defined as using the drug once a month or more. And 25% of respondents reported that they were regular opioid users.

Among opioid users, more than 70% said they used the prescription pain relievers to relax and nearly 68% said they took them to get high. …

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