Minimizing harm: Beliefs and attitudes of young adults engaging in non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use in New Brunswick
Dr. Lillian MacNeill, Dr. Shelley Doucet, and Dr. Alison Luke
Centre for Research in Integrated Care, University of New Brunswick
In Canada, young adults (YAs) had the fastest growing rates of hospitalization for opioid poisoning in the last decade, compared to other age groups. The current mixed-methods study will explore non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use in YAs in New Brunswick (NB). We will recruit approximately 100 YAs in NB (14-30 years) who use NMPOs for an online survey. The survey will: 1) determine if certain motives for NMPO use relate to different levels of misuse, and 2) describe common beliefs about opioids in YAs who use NMPOs. We will also conduct semi-structured interviews with approximately 10 participants. The interviews will explore: 3) in what ways YAs who use NMPOs in NB engage in harm reduction activities; 4) what opioid misuse resources are available for and utilized by YAs who use NMPOs in NB; and 5) recommendations for improving harm reduction resources in NB. Recruitment for this study is currently on hold while the NB state of emergency is in effect. Upon completion of data collection, hierarchical multiple regression will be used to investigate the relationship between NMPO use motives and opioid use severity, and we will use thematic analysis to explore key themes that emerge from the interview data. Although the current opioid crisis in Canada is a national concern, it is crucial to investigate opioid use in local contexts as well. Understanding why, and in what context, YAs are using NMPOs may help in the development and implementation of more effective prevention and harm reduction resources for this population.