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This section provides information on current research and journal articles that are relevant to drug abuse prevention among college students.

How Collegiate Fraternity and Sorority Involvement Relates to Substance Use During Young Adulthood and Substance Use Disorders in Early Midlife: A National Longitudinal Study

The purpose of this research was to assess how social fraternity involvement (i.e., membership and residence) in college relates to substance use behaviors and substance use disorder symptoms during young adulthood and early midlife in a national sample. National longitudinal data confirm binge drinking and marijuana use are most prevalent among male fraternity residents relative to non-members and non-students. The increased risk of substance-related consequences associated with fraternity involvement was not developmentally limited to college and is associated with higher levels of long-term AUD symptoms during early midlife. Read more.

 

A longitudinal study of risk perceptions and e-cigarette initiation among college students: Interactions with smoking status

Recent data suggest that lower perceived risks of e-cigarettes are associated with e-cigarette use in young adults; however, the temporality of this relationship is not well-understood. The researchers explore how perceptions of harmfulness and addictiveness of e-cigarettes influence e-cigarette initiation, and specifically whether this association varies by cigarette smoking status, in a longitudinal study of tobacco use on college campuses. Read more.

 

Using deviance regulation theory to target marijuana use intentions among college students

Several large epidemiological studies have shown increasing trends on a number of indices of marijuana use among college age samples. This may be due to changing attitudes about marijuana use linked to legalization efforts. Interventions that can target problematic use on a broad scale are lacking. Recent research has shown that deviance regulation theory (DRT) can be used to design effective Web-based substance use interventions. DRT relies on the interplay between perceived norms and an appropriately framed message about the given behavior. The current study examines the use of DRT to change marijuana use intentions. Participants completed measures of marijuana use and marijuana use norms. They were then assigned to receive a positively framed message about marijuana abstainers or a negatively framed message about marijuana users. Following the manipulation, participants rated intentions to use marijuana over the next three months. Consistent with DRT, there was an interaction between message frame and marijuana use norms. The positive frame attenuated the association between marijuana use norms and use intentions. A negative frame resulted in the lowest levels of use intentions among those with low use norms. Results suggest that DRT may be used to modify use intentions in college students, a population that has shown increasing rates of use. Read more.
 

Does social context matter? An ecological momentary assessment study of marijuana use among college students

Past research has shown that marijuana use occurs commonly in social situations for young adults, though few studies have examined the association between immediate social context and marijuana use patterns and associated problems. The current study examined the impact of demographics, marijuana use and problem use, alcohol use, craving, and social context on the likelihood of using marijuana with others via ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Cannabis dependence, more time using marijuana in the moment, and using for social facilitation purposes were positively associated with using marijuana in the context of being with others. Daily users had more variability in terms of the social context of their use. This study illustrates the complex relationship between social context and marijuana use. Read more.

 

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2016

This report uses the most recent data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to update trends in drug overdose deaths, describe demographic and geographic patterns, and identify shifts in the types of drugs involved. Read more.
 

Sports involvement, injury history, and non-medical use of prescription opioids among college students: An analysis with a national sample

To more effectively deal with the devastating outcomes associated with non-medical use of prescription opioids (NUPO), research is needed to identify populations at increased risk. The current research builds on a small number of studies that have shown that adolescents involved in competitive sports are more likely to report NUPO. Specifically, we examine the relationship between athlete status, injury history, and NUPO among college students. Looking at factors individually, having an injury, being a varsity athlete, and being male were all significantly associated with NUPO. By combining these factors together we were able to determine that male athletes, athletes with injuries, and male athletes with injuries were at the greatest risk for NUPO, after controlling for relevant covariates. Read more.

 

College students' perceived benefit-to-risk tradeoffs for nonmedical use of prescription stimulants: Implications for intervention designs

Few studies have examined the benefit-to-risk tradeoffs undergraduate students perceive when engaging in the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NPS). This study examined the variation in college students' perceived risks and benefits for NPS. These findings identify subgroups of college NPS users that could have vastly different trajectories in terms of future drug use and college performance. Given this heterogeneity among students regarding perceived risks and benefits of NPS, interventions should be designed to assess motives and provide personalized feedback. Further research is needed with larger, more diverse samples and to assess the prospective stability of perceived risks and benefits. Read more.
 

Correlates of cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge among U.S. college students

The proliferation of electronic devices, such as vape-pens, has provided alternative means for cannabis use. Research has found cannabis-vaping (i.e., vape-pen use) is associated with lower perceived risks and higher cannabis use. Knowledge of these products may increase likelihood of subsequent use. As policies for cannabis shift, beliefs that peers and family approve of this substance use increase and there has been an increase in vape-pen use among young adults (18–35 year olds); however, correlates thereof remain unknown. Young adults often engage in cross-substance use with cannabis and alcohol, making alcohol a potential correlate of cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge. Therefore, researchers examined alcohol use and other potential correlates of vape-pen use and knowledge among a sample of university students. Alcohol use was correlated with cannabis vape-pen use and knowledge. Frequency of cannabis use, peer injunctive norms, and positive expectancies were associated with increased likelihood of vape-pen use. Lack of premeditation, a facet of impulsivity, was associated with cannabis vape-pen knowledge. Given the unknown nature and consequences of cannabis vape-pens, the present findings offer valuable information on correlates of this behavior. Further, correlates of knowledge of vape-pens may point to areas for education and clinical intervention to prevent heavy cannabis vape-pen use. Read more.

 

Association between nonmedical use of prescription drugs and sleep quality in a large college student sample

Poor sleep and nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) are both common among college students. Since lack of sleep adversely influences academic performance, this study examined the association between NMUPD and subjective sleep quality among college students. Any NMUPD, nonmedical use of stimulants specifically, and nonmedical use of painkillers specifically were associated with getting fewer days of Enough Sleep, more days of Early Awakening, Daytime Sleepiness, and Difficulty Falling Asleep. Nonmedical use of sedatives was significantly associated with Daytime Sleepiness, more days of Early Awakening, and Difficulty Falling Asleep. NMUPD is associated with poor sleep among college students. Therefore, behavioral medicine screening and treatment of this vulnerable population should consider sleep health, NMUPD, and the potential that these problems may be comorbid. Read more.

 

Marijuana use and associated motives in Colorado university students

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among college students, with heavy use leading to negative outcomes. Use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in select U.S. states has been controversial, with concerns surrounding increased prevalence rates and harm. The current exploratory study aimed to assess marijuana use in college students in Colorado, demographic differences in frequency of use, and motives for using. Prevalence rates of marijuana use were high in this sample of college students in a state with legal recreational marijuana use. Particular students (eg, students who use marijuana to cope) may be at higher risk for problem marijuana use. Developing effective, tailored interventions for university students is warranted. Read more.
 

Empirical Profiles of Alcohol and Marijuana Use, Drugged Driving, and Risk Perceptions

The present study sought to inform models of risk for drugged driving through empirically identifying patterns of marijuana use, alcohol use, and related driving behaviors. Findings suggest that college students’ perceived dangerousness of driving after using marijuana had greater influence on drugged driving behaviors than alcohol-related driving risk perceptions. These results support targeting marijuana-impaired driving risk perceptions in young adult intervention programs. Read more.
 

The Use of Substances Other Than Nicotine in Electronic Cigarettes Among College  Students

Electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity, especially among youth and young adults. Although e-cigarettes were originally intended to vaporize a liquid mixture containing nicotine, there appears to be an increasing trend in other substance use in e-cigarettes (OSUE). Little is known regarding the health effects of cannabis and cannabis derivatives delivered through e-cigarettes. Concern may also be warranted regarding the potential dangers of this young population using substances more dangerous than cannabis in e-cigarettes. Knowledge is limited regarding the public health impact of vaping cannabis or other illicit substances among college student populations. This study stresses the need for continued research regarding the vaping of cannabis and other illicit substances among college students. Read more.
 

Nonmedical use of over-the-counter medications is significantly associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs among university students

This study’s objective was to examine the association between nonmedical use of over-the-counter medications (NMUOTC) and nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD).  The majority of respondents were women, undergraduate, Caucasian, and not affiliated with Greek life. NMUPD and NMUOTC were reported by 21.4 percent and 11.2 percent of students, respectively. Secondary analyses showed a relationship between over-the-counter (OTC) cough medication misuse and NMUPD, OTC stimulant misuse and prescription stimulant misuse, and OTC sleep aid misuse with prescription depressant misuse. Results suggest the importance of both measuring the prevalence of OTC misuse and incorporating its misuse into assessments of polydrug use in the university population. Read more.
 

A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Substance Use Counseling on Campus

This article presents an integrated approach for counselors providing substance use counseling to college students with sensitivity to the students' gender, culture, development, and readiness and motivation to change. Incorporating the use of relational–cultural therapy and motivational interviewing, the author organizes these complementary modalities along the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change and discusses practical implications for counselors to reduce harm in the context of the college environment. A case illustration is included. Read more.

 

Opiate abuse in the United States is on the rise among the college student population. This public health crisis requires immediate action from professionals and stakeholders who are committed to addressing the needs of prospective, current, and recovering opiate users using comprehensive prevention methods. Such approaches have been used to deliver primary, secondary, and tertiary intervention to alcohol and other drug users but are underutilized in the case of opiate abuse among college students in the United States. There is a definite need for involving college campus faculty, staff, students, and others in efforts to prevent opiate abuse at all levels. Our recommendations include specific strategies to address this imminent issue using an innovative application of the traditional Levels of Prevention Model. Read more.

 

Perceived academic benefit is associated with nonmedical prescription stimulant use among college students

College students are at higher than average risk for nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NPS). A commonly identified motive among students who engage in NPS is to improve grades. Several research studies have observed that NPS most likely does not confer an academic advantage, and is associated with excessive drinking and other drug use. This study documents the proportion of the general college student population who believe that NPS will lead to improvements in academic performance. Read more.
 

Academic Doping: Institutional Policies Regarding Nonmedical use of Prescription Stimulants in U.S. Higher Education

Academic integrity policies at 200 institutions of higher education (IHEs) were examined for the presence of academic prohibitions against the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants (NMUPS) or any other cognitive enhancing drug (CED). Researchers used online search tools to locate policy handbooks in a stratified random sample of IHEs drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System database, searching for NMUPS/CED use as violations of either academic integrity or alcohol and other drug (AOD) policies. Of 191 academic integrity policies found online, NMUPS/CED prohibitions were present in only one. However, NMUPS was addressed in all but two of the 200 IHE AOD policies, often with language referencing IHE adherence to federal or state law. NMUPS/CED prohibitions are predominantly absent in IHE academic integrity policies, raising questions about whether colleges and universities are concerned about the use of enhancement drugs as a form of cheating. Implications for fairness, health promotion, and future research are discussed. Read more.
 

Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Compliance at Michigan Community Colleges

This study analyzed public reports from Michigan community colleges to evaluate compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and to examine their alcohol and drug programs. The study’s author provides a rationale for why colleges should invest in improving compliance and the quality of alcohol and drug programs, and offers seven recommendations to community college administrators on how to do so. Read more.
 

University Student Perceptions About the Motives For and Consequences of Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs

The current study’s purpose was to increase qualitative understanding of student motives for and consequences associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Qualitative findings extend previous research by suggesting differences in students' perceived motives for using and consequences associated with the different classes of prescription drugs. These findings provide implications for development of preventive interventions. Read more.
 

Freshman Year Alcohol and Marijuana Use Prospectively Predict Time to College Graduation and Subsequent Adult Roles and Independence

This study examined how freshman year substance use prospectively predicted time to college graduation, and whether delayed graduation predicted postponed adoption of adult roles and future substance use. Results indicated that frequent binge drinking and marijuana use during freshman year predicted delayed college graduation. Those who took longer to graduate were more likely to have lower incomes and were less likely to obtain a graduate degree. Taking 5-6 years to graduate was associated with greater likelihood of alcohol-related problems. Read more.
 

Mobile Health Interventions Helped Young Adults Reduce Alcohol Use

Young adults who received educational information via mobile technologies successfully reduced heavy drinking days, decreased risky single-occasion drinking and increased the percentage of days avoiding alcohol, according to an AHRQ-funded literature review. The use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies in health care – known as mHealth – is a strategy for engaging young adults who may not be reached by in-person interventions. The review examined 12 research articles, most of which focused on adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Researchers analyzed the use of mHealth apps that included motivational and educational materials, support tools and instruments to track alcohol use. Eleven studies indicated mHealth interventions are most useful when apps maintain regular contact, do not require the participant to initiate contact, vary messages and provide feedback. The study was published in the May issue of Journal of Health Communication. Read more.
 

Longitudinal influence of alcohol and marijuana use on academic performance in college students

Alcohol and marijuana are the two most abused substances in U.S. colleges. However, research on the combined influence (cross sectional or longitudinal) of these substances on academic performance is currently scant. This study validates and extends the current literature by providing important implications of concurrent alcohol and marijuana use on academic achievement in college. Read more.
 

Alcohol-Related Blackouts, Negative Alcohol-Related Consequences, and Motivations for Drinking Reported by Newly Matriculating Transgender College Students

Many transgender college students struggle with identity formation and other emotional, social, and developmental challenges associated with emerging adulthood. A potential maladaptive coping strategy employed by such students is heavy drinking. Prior literature has suggested greater consumption and negative alcohol-related consequences (ARCs) in transgender students compared with their cisgender peers, but little is known about their differing experiences with alcohol-related blackouts (ARBs). This study examined the level of alcohol consumption, frequency of ARBs and other ARCs, and motivations for drinking reported by the largest sample of transgender college students to date. Read more.
 

The Influence of College Attendance on Risk for Marijuana Initiation in the United States: 1977 to 2015

This study examines a potential increase in marijuana initiation among U.S. college students as compared with their age peers not in college before and after 2013, a watershed year for increasing tolerance of marijuana use in the United States. Read more.
 

Marijuana and College Students: A Critical Review of the Literature

The purpose of this study was to evaluate existing literature on the associated effects of marijuana use on U.S. college students’ academic success, including conduct/legal issues, negative outcomes, normative perceptions, and physical/mental health. Read more.

 

Magnitude and Trends in Heavy Episodic Drinking, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, and Alcohol-Related Mortality and Overdose Hospitalizations Among Emerging Adults of College Ages 18–24 in the United States, 1998–2014

This article estimates percentages of U.S. emerging adults ages 18-24 engaging in past-month heavy episodic drinking and past-year alcohol-impaired driving, and numbers experiencing alcohol-related unintentional injury deaths and overdose hospitalizations between 1998 and 2014. Read more.

 

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