Characteristics and consequences of prescription drug misuse among university students in the United Kingdom

Odette Parry, Katharine Holloway, Trevor Bennett, Caroline Gorden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Prescription drug misuse is associated with various problems relating to physical health, psychological disorders, social relationships, as well as broader societal and economic problems. Research in the United States has shown that university students are a high-risk group for involvement in prescription drug misuse. There has been almost no research on prescription drug misuse among university students outside of the United States. Methods: The study was based on an online survey of students currently registered at a university in north Wales. Respondents completed a structured questionnaire covering topics relating to the characteristics and consequences of prescription drug misuse. The analysis was based on those students reporting prescription drug misuse. Results: The most common medications misused were prescribed pain relievers, tranquillisers and sedatives. The main motives for misuse were to obtain the therapeutic benefits of the drug, recreational purposes and mood enhancement. The main problems associated with prescription drug misuse were addiction, physiological and psychological disorders and relationships. Conclusion: The study revealed a wide range of problems experienced by students who misuse prescription drugs. More could be done to tackle prescription drug misuse among students through campus-based drug prevention programmes. Read More: Read More:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156 - 163
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number1-2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2014


  • prescription drugs
  • university students
  • consequences
  • drug
  • misuse
  • harms
  • surveys


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