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Young adults using prescription drugs nonmedically

The growing use of prescription drugs is a global health concern. A “pill-popping culture”, where many life issues are seen as problems that can be treated with medication, is becoming more common worldwide. Simultaneously, there are increasing concerns about the nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) such as sedatives, opi-oid-based pain relief medication and prescription stimu-lants. Nevertheless, this trend has received limited atten-tion in scientific research in Belgium, and in Europe more broadly.

The YOUTH-PUMED study described in this book aims at a better understanding of this phenomenon among young adults, and of their perceptions about their own nonmedical use of prescription drugs and associated harms.

This book shows that the young adults were using one or more psychoactive medication (sedatives, analgesics or stimulants) in different contexts, and their use patterns and motives for use varied. It ends with helpful insights to prevent and reduce NMUPD.

The book is available here on the publisher’s website


Frédérique Bawin is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Social Drug research at Ghent University. She has a PhD in Criminology. Her research interests include the use of illicit drugs and the nonmedical use of psychoactive medicines.

Kevin Emplit obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences and a master’s degree in Criminology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. During his studies, these two fields of knowledge sparked off a growing interest for clinical criminology. Topics related to addiction are, for him, an important area of research in an effort of understanding and to reduce associated health risks.

Julie Tieberghien is a lecturer and a researcher in the department of Applied Social Studies at VIVES University College. She has an PhD in Criminology and her expertise and main interests focus on drug use and policy, crisis and disaster management, and local governance of societal security.

Ellen Vandenbogaerde is researcher and lecturer in the department of Applied Social Studies at VIVES University College. She has an MA in Criminology and PhD in Development Studies and is currently involved in a number of applied research projects focussing on societal security and liveability.

Mafalda Pardal, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow (FWO – Research Foundation Flanders) and Assistant Professor in Criminology at Ghent University. She has also been a visiting researcher at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. Her research interests include the study