Perceived Harmfulness Predicts Non-medical Use of Prescription Drugs among College Students: Interactions with Sensation-Seeking

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In this first study to describe college students' beliefs about the risks of recreational use of prescription painkillers and stimulants, researchers find that youth who take the drugs are often "sensation seekers" who yearn for new and novel experiences. Evidence suggests that most college students think this type of drug use is safe, when, in fact, it can be addictive and lead to health complications. More than 175,000 emergency room admissions in 2005 were related to the non-medical use of prescription painkillers and stimulants, according to federal government data. The study, published in the September issue of the journal Prevention Science, suggests the need for more education for teens on the harmfulness of non-medical prescription drug use. Free, 11 pages. (703) 918-4860,