Non-medical use of prescription drugs among the Finnish adult population
BACKGROUND Non-medical use of prescription drugs is a global health concern. Differences in user groups, motivations and sources have been found in the international research literature. This study examines the situation in Finland.
METHODS The data used in this study was the population-based Drug Survey conducted in Finland in 2014. The respondents were Finnish adults aged between 15 and 69 (n = 3485).
RESULTS Use of sedatives and anxiolytics was slightly more common than use of analgesics. The most common reasons for non-medical use were intoxication, experiment or to relieve pain or some other symptom. Prescription drugs were primarily sourced through social networks or from a pharmacy with a personal prescription. There were minor gender differences in prescription drugs used, motivations and sources. Younger age, lower education and use of illicit drugs were associated with the non-medical use of prescription drugs.
CONCLUSIONS These findings help to identify population groups at risk for non-medical use of prescription drugs and the characteristics of non-medical use. This can be utilized in directing preventive measures.