The use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes is increasing among young adults.
This phenomenon caught the attention of Christine Thoër, research professor in the Department of Social and Public Communication at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), who sought to understand how young people are using these substances and the reasons for this behaviour.
Christine Thoër noted two principal uses, the first aimed at enhancing performance and the second for recreational purposes.
In conducting interviews with subjects between the ages of 18 and 25, she noted two principal uses, the first aimed at enhancing performance and the second for recreational purposes. Young adults seek to improve their performance in order to overcome perceived personal limits, to succeed in a highly competitive environment or to maintain a hectic lifestyle combining studies, work, love life and social life. They have a tendency to trivialize the use of these substances, pointing out that many other people in their social circle use them and that they are relatively safe.
Often, the young people using medication for recreational purposes also consume illegal drugs. They typically begin using prescription drugs following an accident or surgery, or after being offered some by a member of their entourage.
The results of Christine Thoër's work have been presented at the 2009 and 2012 ACFAS Conventions, and at a summer workshop on Internet research methods held at UQAM in May 2011. They also form the subject of several articles published in Drogues santé et société, and are used in a training session offered by the Association des intervenants en toxicomanie du Québec.