JOURNAL ARTICLE

Non-medical use of psychoactive drugs in relation to suicide tendencies among Chinese adolescents

Wang Juan, Deng Jian-Xiong, Guo Lan, He Yuan, Gao Xue, Huang Jing-Hui, Huang Guo-Liang, Lu Ci-Yong
Addictive Behaviors 2015, 51: 31-7
26210910

INTRODUCTION: To investigate the prevalence of non-medical use of psychoactive prescription drug (NMUPD) among adolescents and to explore the associations between non-medical psychoactive prescription drug use and depressive symptoms, poor sleep quality, deliberate self-harm, and suicide.

METHODS: A two-stage stratified cluster sample design produced a representative sample of 12-19-year-old students in grades 1-6 who attended public middle schools in Guangdong province. Prevalence estimates (SE) of non-medical psychoactive prescription drug use were calculated, and logistic regression was used to examine its association with depressive symptoms, poor sleep quality, deliberate self-harm, and suicide.

RESULTS: Overall, 7.5% of adolescents reported non-medical use of opioids, and 4.8% of adolescents reported non-medical use of sedatives. Lifetime, last-year, and last-month non-medical use of opioids and sedatives were positively associated with depressive symptoms, poor sleep quality, deliberate self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempts among different gender and age-group adolescents. Those who reported last month non-medical use of opioids and sedatives had the greatest odds of reporting depressive symptoms, poor sleep quality, deliberate self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempts. Males who were last month non-medical users of opioids or sedative had 8.9 or 10.7 times greater odds of reporting a suicidal attempt, and 8.8 or 9.8 times greater odds of reporting a suicidal attempt were observed among adolescents aged 16-19 who were last-month non-medical users of opioids or sedatives.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide evidence for improving adolescents' suicide prevention strategy by targeting supervision on high risk current non-medical users of psychoactive drug.

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