Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Walker, Kandi L.

Author's Keywords

Teenage prescription drug abuse; Adolescent prescription drug abuse; Adolescent drug abuse; Adolescent substance abuse; Teenage substance use; Adolescent substance use


Medication abuse--Kentucky--Louisville; Teenagers--Drug use--Kentucky--Louisville; Teenagers--Substance use--Kentucky--Louisville; Adolescent psychology--Kentucky--Louisville


The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of teenage prescription drug abuse in Jefferson County, Kentucky to gain a better understanding of the environment and characteristics of a teenager who abuses prescription drugs, and to gain insight into this situation through the perspectives of adult professionals who regularly work with teenagers. In-depth interviews were conducted with five professionals, and data analyses were performed to determine recurring themes. There were four primary emergent themes, including: profiling of a teenage prescription drug abuser; factors influencing likelihood of drug abuse; portfolio of mental, emotional, and social issues; and treatment processes. There was general consensus among interviewees that there is no "typical" profile of a teen who abuses prescription drugs. There are many convening factors that contribute to the likelihood a teen will abuse prescription drugs, including peer influence and familial influence. Teens who abuse prescription drugs generally present with a multitude of mental health issues, coping difficulties, and social struggles. If a teen who is abusing prescription drugs receives treatment, there are generally many cycles of unsuccessful treatment programs prior to a success.