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Prescription drug misuse in adolescents and young adults

an emerging issue as a health problem

Siste, Kristianaa; Nugraheni, Putrib; Christian, Hansa; Suryani, Evac; Firdaus, Karina Kalania

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - p 320–327
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000520
ADDICTIVE DISORDERS: Edited by John B. Saunders and Linda B. Cottler

Introduction In recent years, prescription drug misuse has become a common issue among adolescents and young adults in many countries, with, for example, a lifetime prevalence of 12% among individuals aged 12–17 in 2017 in United States.

Purpose of review To summarize recently published studies about prescription drug misuse among adolescent and young adults.

Recent findings Prescription drug misuse has many definitions, one being any medication taken in a way other than prescribed, whether related to dosage or manner of usage. Among adolescents, it has a relationship with illicit drug use, decline in academic performance, future delinquency, and mental problems. Individual predisposing factors include identity crisis and role confusion, and there are also environmental influences. Preventive approaches include the use of monitoring systems. Management involves initial assessment and treatment, which largely focuses on behavioural interventions.

Summary Further understanding of risk and protective factors, co-occurring issues, and treatment can help prevent and reduce the prevalence of prescription drug misuse. Collaboration among government, clinicians, and patients is urged to combat this growing issue.

aDepartment of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia

bDepartment of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Pembangunan Nasional ‘Veteran’ Jakarta

cDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, School of Medicine and Health Science, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

Correspondence to Kristiana Siste, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia. E-mail:

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