CitationEhntholt, A.; Pabayo, R.; Berkman, L.; & Kawachi, I. (2021). Race, Adolescent Socioeconomic Status, and Lifetime Non-Medical Use of Prescription Painkillers: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. vol. 18 (23) , PMCID: PMC8657390
AbstractThe misuse of prescription painkillers is a major contributor to the ongoing drug overdose epidemic. This study investigated variability in non-medical use of prescription painkillers (NMUPP) by race and early-life socioeconomic status (SES) in a sample now at increased risk for opioid overdose. Data from two waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 11,602) were used to calculate prevalence of reported NMUPP by Wave 4 (2008; mean age 28), and to assess variation by race and by equivalized household family income at Wave 1 (1994/5). Predicted values for prevalence of NMUPP were modelled, adjusting for age, sex, parental education, and region. Race and SES in adolescence were associated with later reported NMUPP. A gradient was seen in prevalence by SES (adjusted: family income quartile 1 = 13.3%; quartile 2 = 13.8%; quartile 3 = 14.8%; quartile 4 = 16.0%; trend p-value = 0.007). Prevalence was higher among males. Racial/ethnic differences in prevalence were seen (non-Hispanic white (NHW) = 18.5%; non-Hispanic black (NHB) = 5.8%; Hispanic = 10.5%; Other = 10.0%). SES differences were less pronounced upon stratification, with trend tests significant only among females (p = 0.004), and marginally significant among Hispanic males (p = 0.06). Early-life SES was associated with reported lifetime NMUPP: the higher the family income in adolescence, the greater the likelihood of NMUPP by young adulthood. Variations in NMUPP by income paled in comparison with racial/ethnic differences. Results point to a possible long-enduring association between SES and NMUPP, and a need to examine underlying mechanisms.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleInt J Environ Res Public Health