A new study published in the Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology journal shows that the risks of substance abuse, especially prescription painkiller abuse, is lower among those who are in college or who have graduated from college. According to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology Dr. Silvia Martins, one of the researchers and study authors, young people who do not go to college have a higher risk of substance abuse at least where narcotic painkillers are concerned. Dr. Martins explained “Our findings clearly show there is a need for young adult prevention and intervention programs to target nonmedical prescription drug use beyond college campuses.” Another surprising finding from the new study is that young women are also at higher risk than young men when it comes to opioid pain medications.
The latest study on prescription painkiller abuse and the risks of substance abuse among those who skip college and those who attend a higher learning institution used data that was collected between 2008 and 2010, and this data came from around 37,000 people. The data was analyzed and evaluated in order to determine the rate of prescription painkiller abuse and the actual risks of substance abuse, and the findings show that those who go to college are at a lower risk than those who only finish high school or who have dropped out of school before reaching the college level. In a news release for the university Dr. Martins stated “This age group is particularly vulnerable to the development of adverse substance-using patterns, due in part to the process of identity formation that emerges at this developmental stage.”