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Peers, but not peer pressure, key to prescription drug misuse among young adults
Date:8/15/2014

SAN FRANCISCO Current efforts to prevent prescription drug misuse among young adults need to consider peers but not peer pressure according to a Purdue University study.

"With the 18-29 age group we may be spending unnecessary effort working a peer pressure angle in prevention and intervention efforts. That does not appear to be an issue for this age group," said study co-author Brian Kelly, a professor of sociology and anthropology who studies drug use and youth cultures. "Rather, we found more subtle components of the peer context as influential. These include peer drug associations, peers as points of drug access, and the motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have pleasant times with friends."

This research, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), will be presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association by study co-author Alexandra Marin, a Purdue sociology doctoral student.

Prescription drug misuse has risen considerably during the 21st century and is the most commonly abused substance after alcohol and marijuana for people 14 and older, according to NIDA. Popular prescription drugs that are most frequently misused are sedatives, painkillers, and stimulants.

"People normally think about peer pressure in that peers directly and actively pressure an individual to do what they are doing," said Kelly, who also is director of Purdue's Center for Research on Young People's Health. "This study looks at that form of direct social pressure as well as more indirect forms of social pressure. We find that friends are not actively pressuring them, but it's a desire to have a good time alongside friends that matters."

The findings, collected from 2011-13, are based on survey interviews with 404 adults ages 18 to 29 who misused prescription drugs in the past 90 days. Two-hundred fourteen in-person interviews also were conducted. These individuals were recruited from popu
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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