Research & Resources

Substance Use Disorder Symptom Severity at Age 18 and Substance Use Disorder in Adulthood

The National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Monitoring the Future panel study at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor examined the relationship between substance use disorder symptom severity at age 18 and prescription drug use, prescription drug misuse, and substance use disorder symptoms up to age 50 in surveyed individuals. Overall, more than 40 percent of surveyed 18-year-olds reported at least two substance use disorder symptoms (across all substances). More than half of the individuals who were prescribed—and used—opioids, sedatives, or tranquilizers as adults also reported two or more symptoms at age 18. This finding underlines the importance of strategies to increase safety and properly assess a potential history of substance use disorder symptoms when prescribing controlled medications to adults.

This paper, “Longitudinal analysis of substance use disorder symptom severity at age 18 years and substance use disorder in adulthood,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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