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Background: Despite research on prescription opioids and dependence being a national priority, little is known about the association between several potential adolescent risk factors and later opioid dependence among those who use opioids non-medically. Objectives: To investigate the association between lifetime opioid dependence and adolescent self-perceived health, health beliefs (thinking there was a pill for everything), health behaviors (onset of alcohol use before 15, onset of prescription opioid use before 15) and parental health practices (having opioids in the family medicine cabinet at age 14, parental suggestions to take pills when sick). Methods: A sample of 343 community members who non-medically used prescription opioids in the past 12 months were recruited for the Prescription Drug Misuse, Abuse, and Dependence Study and retrospectively assessed for adolescent risk factors of lifetime opioid dependence (DSM-IV). Results: Logistic regression revealed the strongest predictor of lifetime opioid dependence was having a prescription opioid in the family medicine cabinet at age 14. Those who grew up believing there was a pill for everything and those who initiated alcohol use before 15 were 1.83 and 1.78 times as likely, respectively, to meet dependence criteria than their counterparts. Demographics and other adolescent predictors were not associated with opioid dependence. Conclusions: Findings suggest several adolescent exposures can be targeted to reduce opioid dependence. Through their behavior, parents can reduce their teens' risk for opioid dependence.


Amy L Elliott, Yiyang Liu, Kathleen L Egan, Catherine W Striley, Linda B Cottler. Exposure to Medicines in the Family Medicine Cabinet: Is It a Harbinger of Later Opioid Dependence? Substance use & misuse. 2020;55(10):1709-1715

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PMID: 32394779

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