Publications

Does misuse lead to a disorder? The misuse of prescription tranquilizer and sedative medications and subsequent substance use disorders in a U.S. longitudinal sample

Objectives

We used two waves of National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) data and examined whether the misuse of prescription tranquilizers or sedatives at Wave 1 was associated with either continued misuse, tranquilizer/sedative use disorder, or other substance use disorder (SUD) at Wave 2.

Methods

Prospective data were analyzed from structured diagnostic interviews using the Alcohol Use disorders and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule: DSM-IV Version (AUDADIS-DSM-IV). A nationally representative sample of 34,653 of U.S. adults, 18 years or older at Wave 1 (2001 − 2002), were re-interviewed at Wave 2 (2004-2005). After applying the survey weights, the sample represented a population that was 52% female, 71% White, 12% Hispanic, 11% African American, 4% Asian and 2% Native American or other.

Results

An estimated 79% of adults who engaged in tranquilizer or sedative misuse at Wave 1 had stopped using these drugs at Wave 2. Only a small percentage (4.3%) of misusers at Wave 1 had a tranquilizer or sedative use disorder at Wave 2. However, 45% (45.0%) of misusers at Wave 1 had at least one other SUD at Wave 2. Among those in remission from a sedative or tranquilizer use disorder at Wave 1, 4.8% had a tranquilizer or sedative use disorder while 34.7% had at least one other SUD at Wave 2.

Conclusions

Most adults who engaged in the misuse of prescription tranquilizers or sedatives ceased using within 3 years; however, their prior misuse was associated with higher prevalence of having a SUD three years later.