NIH grant studies prescription misuse among adolescents, young adults

Ty Schepis
Ty Schepis

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
June 13, 2017

Texas State University's Ty Schepis, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded a Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The three-year award of approximately $573,000 is the first R01 grant to a Texas State faculty member since 1995.

The study will examine the influence of school status on younger prescription misusers to identify the psychosocial and prescription drug misuse traits, allowing for targeted prevention and treatment interventions of more vulnerable misusers.

"This particular grant is looking at prescription misuse of adolescents and young adults," Schepis said. "One of the bigger questions we have is: Does being in school or out of school matter? There is evidence that college students use differently than young adults who are not in college. There's evidence that adolescents who drop out are the worst-case scenario.

"Prescription misuse has become a much bigger deal over the past two or three years," he said. "Not that it hasn't been serious before, but the attention from media is a lot more recent."

Despite evidence that adolescents and young adults not currently in school have higher rates of prescription drug misuse, very little is known about how school status affects motives for misuse. A large national survey in 2015 asked new and—for researchers—better questions regarding prescription misuse. That updated information is one reason Schepis' study is now viable.

"The data set we're using to ask and answer these questions has changed," Schepis explained. "I think that's part of what made the project interesting to the NIH now—the idea that we can ask better questions."

The NIH is comprised of institutes and centers that support specific areas of health-related research. Almost all institutes and centers at the NIH fund R01 grants. The R01 is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH, an award made to support specific projects by the named investigators in an area representing the investigator's specific interest, based on the mission of the NIH.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 170,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world.  Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities:  Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.