SEOW Members Crystal Reinhart, Doug Smith and others in the School of Social Work at UIUC recently published an article on youth opioid use based on data from the Illinois Youth Survey. Here is the citation and the abstract:
Barton, A., Reinhart, C.A., Campbell, C., Smith, D.C., & Albarracin, D. (2020). Opioid use at the transition to emerging adulthood: A latent class analysis of non-medical use of prescription opioids and heroin use. Addictive Behaviors, 114. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106757
Background: Although rates of nonmedical opioid use are highest in late adolescence and emerging adulthood, efforts to understand the extent of the heterogeneity in opioid misuse during this time have been limited. The current study aimed to derive and define typologies of opioid use in high school students at the onset of emerging adulthood.
Methods: Survey responses from a statewide sample of high school students aged 18 and 19 (N = 26,223) were analyzed. Group-based comparisons between participants reporting opioid use and those not reporting opioid use
were conducted. Among those reporting opioid use (n = 1,636), we conducted a latent class analysis (LCA) to identify heterogeneous subgroups of opioid users on the basis of non-medical use of prescription opioids (NMUPO) and heroin use. The resulting classes were then compared across various risk and protective factors using multinominal logistic regression.
Results: Consistent differences were observed between participants using opioids and participants not using opioids, with moderate to large effect sizes. Results from LCA revealed three subclasses: NMUPO-Any Use, NMUPO To Get High, and Heroin Use. Subclass differences were observed for non-opioid substance use, mental health, and demographics.
Conclusions: Findings from this study underscore the variability of youth who engage in opioid use in late adolescence. Results also indicate that opioid use during adolescence is likely indicative of a broader set of substance use and mental health issues.