Insufficient Sleep and Prescription Opioid Misuse Among US Adolescents

Insufficient Sleep and Prescription Opioid Misuse Among US Adolescents

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (2021) examined the association between insufficient sleep and prescription opioid misuse among 6,884 high school students who self-reported on sleep duration and prescription opioid misuse in the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. 

Most (79.4%) participants reported sleeping less than 8 hours per night.

Among all youth, 12.9% reported lifetime prescription opioid misuse and 6.2% reported current prescription opioid misuse.

Prevalence of both lifetime and current opioid medication misuse was higher among those also reporting insufficient sleep compared to those reporting recommended sleep duration (14.3% vs 7.7% for lifetime misuse and 6.6% vs 4.3% for current misuse).

Insufficient sleep was associated with an increased odds of lifetime prescription opioid misuse but not current prescription opioid misuse. 

This study identifies inadequate sleep (<8 hours/night) nearly doubles the risk for lifetime prescription opioid misuse among US adolescents.

One important implication of these findings is to integrate the promotion of adequate nightly sleep (i.e., 8-10 hours/night) as a key element of opioid misuse prevention programs for adolescents.

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