The availability of prescription medications, coupled with misconceptions about their safety and addictive potential, has contributed to the surge in prescription (primarily opioid painkillers) misuse, abuse, dependence, and overdose, and to the death of college students. Thus, it is increasingly important for college students misusing prescription opioids (PO) to discontinue use and for those using PO for legitimate medical reasons to use only as medically prescribed. Few resources are available to help college students understand the risks of PO and motivate and support their attempts to reduce or eliminate PO misuse. In order to provide coping skills, healthy alternatives, education and activities to alter attitudes and behaviors toward PO misuse use by students, Eyes of the World Media Group (EOW), in collaboration with UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP), proposes to develop Rx Effects (RxFX), an interactive mobile phone application that fulfills the need for a PO intervention program designed for college students. The project directly benefits public health by creating a novel commercial product that communicates and disseminates drug prevention and health promotion information in an engaging way through college students'technology of choice, the mobile phone. RxFX will provide information and activities to students to change their attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding the risks of PO misuse/abuse and provide healthy alternatives to PO use. The long-term goal of RxFX is to develop and evaluate an effective, low-cost, mobile application that can be easily disseminated widely to college students. This Phase I application proposes to develop the content, initial structure and evaluate the feasibility of the mobile application's potential to educate students about and deter the misuse of PO. The completed RxFX prototype will integrate the following features: goal setting, identification of motivators, educational games, coaching on coping skills, guided media creation to encourage self expression, and integration with web 2.0 social media resources (e.g. Facebook).
The aim i s to lay the foundation for a customizable, mobile application that provides PO users with individualized strategies to limit or discontinue use by tailoring content to individual circumstances and motivations for PO use. An expert advisory group consisting of addiction experts, drug prevention experts, campus health, student life, and other student affairs professionals will inform content development. In Phase 1, the content and structure for the mobile application will be assessed for feasibility by measuring 1) knowledge, 2) attitudes about risk, 3) readiness for behavioral change, 4) perceived utility, and 5) satisfaction with the product by students using PO (N=40). Evaluative data will be collected via focus groups, rating scales, and pre/post rating questionnaires to inform a pilot effectiveness trial to be implemented during Phase II.
The development of an advanced mobile phone application to prevent misuse of prescription drugs by college students will help curb the increasing trend of misuse and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with prescription opioid addiction. The content development and feasibility testing of such a resource will assess the potential of several features and aid in laying the foundation for a prevention and intervention program informed by college students'preferences and based on best-evidenced practices. Engaging youth through the proposed mobile-based approach has the potential to 1) deliver personalized prescription opiate misuse prevention/intervention to college students during their everyday lives and in natural settings, and 2) offer college students an array of health promotion support tools in a cost-effective and entertaining manner.