Playing With Mother's Little Helper: How Do Adolescent Users of Illegal Prescription Drugs Differ From "Traditional" Drug Using Adolescents?

Christina Lanier, University of Delaware
Steven S. Martin, University of Delaware
Cynthia A. Robbins, University of Delaware
Daniel J. O'Connell, University of Delaware

Recent survey data suggest that the use of illegal prescription drugs by adolescents is on the rise. Data from Delaware show that painkillers are the most abused drugs after alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs are also among the most abused drugs in the state. While the rise in prescription drug use is well documented, what is less known is who these users are and how they compare to the "traditional" drug-using adolescent in terms of other delinquent behaviors. Using data from a survey of public school students in Delaware, this research seeks to identify the differences and similarities between these two groups of adolescents. Specifically, we examine demographics, propensity for risk taking, school and parental bonding as well as the relationship between types of drugs and delinquency.

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Updated 05/20/2006