We examined the prevalence and correlates of prescription drug misuse (PDM) in a population-based sample of adults from Alberta.
Data were collected from 3511 adults in Alberta aged 18 years and older in 2002 using a computer-aided telephone survey; the survey response rate was 57.4%.
The prevalence of 12-month PDM in Alberta was 8.2% in 2002. Opiates were the most frequently misused drug class, followed by sedatives, stimulants, and tranquilizers. Current disability was particularly associated with PDM. Odds of PDM were also elevated among adult students and adults with a high school diploma relative to adults with a post-secondary degree. Past-year problem gambling, illicit drug use, and alcohol use and dependence were each associated with PDM, while past-year binge drinking and daily smoking were not.
Findings suggest PDM was an important public health concern in Alberta in 2002. Estimates suggest prescription use and misuse have increased substantially in Canada since that time. There is an urgent need for an ongoing assessment of this evolving problem so that effective prevention and therapeutic strategies can be developed.