Objective: Prescription stimulant non-medical use (NMU) is a national predicament. While the risks of prescription stimulant NMU have been considered, less is known about non-oral use. To focus on this gap, a sample of adults with non-oral prescription stimulant NMU within the last 5-years was recruited. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the pathways and substance transitions associated with prescription stimulant NMU and non-oral prescription stimulant NMU in this unique sample of adults. Methods: Adults (n = 225) reporting non-oral prescription stimulant NMU within the last 5 years were recruited to complete an online survey by banner ads placed on the Reddit website between February and September 2019. After completion of the survey, a second study consisting of an in-depth telephone interview was conducted with 23 participants: interviews took place between July and September 2019. Data reported here include substance, route of administration and class transitions, as well as qualitative data from the interviews. Results: Approximately 1 in 5 began their substance use trajectory with prescription stimulants (19.1%). Other than marijuana, most exposures to illicit substances occurred after both initial prescription stimulant NMU and initial non-oral prescription stimulant NMU. The most frequently reported route of administration transition was from oral use to snorting (n = 158, 70.2%), however, other route of administration transitions included oral use to injection drug use (n = 14, 6%). In-depth interviews elaborated upon these transitions and indicated that prescription stimulant NMU was consequential to substance use pathways. Conclusions: Oral prescription stimulant NMU was a precursor to non-oral prescription stimulant NMU. Non-oral prescription stimulant NMU was a precursor to illicit substance use, suggesting that prescription stimulant NMU impacts substance use pathways and revealing opportunities for intervention.
- prescription stimulant non-medical use
- prescription stimulant non-oral use
- prescription stimulants
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health