Prescription Drug Misuse among Homeless Youth
Prescription drug misuse (PDM) is highly prevalent among youth in the U.S., and can have serious health consequences. Homeless youth are a particularly vulnerable population with high rates of substance use. However, PDM has not been studied in a sample comprised exclusively of homeless youth.
A sample of 451 homeless youth recruited from drop-in centers in Los Angeles, CA provided information on substance use, mental health, service utilization, trauma, and sexual risk behavior. Multivariable logistic regression assessed correlates of past month PDM.
Nearly 50% reported lifetime PDM and 21.6% reported PDM in the past month. The most frequently used prescriptions in the past month were: opioids only (24.5%), sedatives only (23.4%), and stimulants only (10.6%); 14.9% used some combination of these three types of prescription medications. Homeless youth reported that prescriptions were most commonly obtained for free from friends or relatives (24.5%). Foster care involvement was associated with decreased PDM, while hard drug use, suicidal ideation, and unprotected sex were associated with increased PDM.
Homeless youth report high rates of PDM, and access these medications most frequently from friends and family. PDM among homeless youth clusters with other risk factors, including hard drug use, unprotected sex, and suicidal ideation. Surprisingly, foster care history was associated with decreased PDM. Programs aimed at preventing PDM among homeless youth should recognize the clustering of risk behaviors, assess prescription use/access when providing mental health services, and educate the general public about proper disposal of prescriptions.
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ABSTRACT: As many as 25 % of homeless persons have pets. To our knowledge, pet ownership has not been studied quantitatively with homeless youth. This study examined pet ownership among 398 homeless youth utilizing two Los Angeles drop-in centers. Twenty-three percent of homeless youth had a pet. The majority of pet owners reported that their pets kept them company and made them feel loved; nearly half reported that their pets made it more difficult to stay in a shelter. Pet owners reported fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness than their non-pet owning peers. Pet ownership was associated with decreased utilization of housing and job-finding services, and decreased likelihood of currently staying in a shelter. These findings elucidate many of the positive benefits of pet ownership for homeless youth, but importantly highlight that pet ownership may negatively impact housing options. Housing and other services must be sensitive to the needs of homeless youth with pets.Child Psychiatry and Human Development 04/2014; 46(2). DOI:10.1007/s10578-014-0463-5
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ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship between prescription drug misuse and sexual risk behaviors (i.e. unprotected sex, increased number of sex partners) in a sample of young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in Philadelphia. Data come from a cross-sectional study of 18-29 year old YMSM (N = 191) who misused prescription drugs in the past 6 months. Associations were investigated in two regression models: logistic models for unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and zero-truncated Poisson regression model for number of sex partners. Of 177 participants engaging in anal intercourse in the past 6 months, 57.6 % engaged in UAI. After adjusting for socio-demographic variables and illicit drug use, misuse of prescription pain pills and muscle relaxants remained significantly associated with engaging in receptive UAI. No prescription drug class was associated with a high number of sex partners. This study provides additional evidence that some prescription drugs are associated with sexual risk behaviors among YMSM.AIDS and Behavior 09/2014; 19(5). DOI:10.1007/s10461-014-0898-5