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Major Article

Adverse childhood experiences, risk of opioid misuse and its pathway among students at a public university

, MSW/MPH, , PhD, MS, MPA, , MS, , BS & , PhD, MPH
Received 21 Dec 2020
Accepted 29 Oct 2021
Published online: 17 Nov 2021

Abstract

Objective: We examine role of ACEs and pathways to risk of opioid misuse among young adults. Participants and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of validated measures of ACEs, risk of opioid misuse, and health conditions with a sample of 1,402 students from a large public university followed by multivariate logistic regression and pathway analysis. Results: Majority (61%) of participants reported at least one ACE. A dose-response relationship between numbers of ACEs with risk for opioid misuse was present. Compared to participants with no ACEs, participants with ≥4 ACEs and 0–3 ACEs were 2.93 (95% CI: 1.95, 4.39; p < 0.001) and 1.96 (95% CI: 1.46, 2.65; p < 0.001) times more likely to be at risk for opioid misuse, respectively. Having at least one existing or past health condition significantly mediated the association. Conclusions: Our findings suggest need to include assessment of ACEs as a screening criterion for opioid prescription and administration among college-aged individuals.

Funding

No funding was used to support this research and/or the preparation of the manuscript.

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