CitationFaller, Rachel W.; Erausquin, Jennifer T.; McCoy, Thomas P.; Bearmon, Emily; & Bartlett, Robin (2018). Prescription drug misuse and illicit drug in young- and middle-age US adults in the context of the opioid epidemic. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition. San Diego, CA.
AbstractBackground: The United States opioid epidemic continues to escalate both in overdose deaths and its toll on families, employers, emergency response systems, and health care. One challenge in addressing the opioid epidemic is crossover between prescription drug misuse and use of (often cheaper) illicit drugs such as heroin. Current surveillance of the epidemic primarily relies on overdose data from emergency rooms and reports from police encounters. However, these systems often do not distinguish between prescription opioid misuse and illicit drug use. Further, current surveillance can miss those who are using but do not seek medical care or come into contact with police. Self-reported data can help fill this gap. Methods: We investigated self-reported past 30-day prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use using Wave V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We present weighted results of frequency analysis and adjusted prevalence ratios by key demographic characteristics. Results: Preliminary results show prescription opioids were the most commonly abused prescription medicines (8.52%), followed by sedatives (2.99%) and tranquilizers (2.93%). Across racial/ethnic groups, the majority misusing prescription opioids were white (71.05%). However, opioid misuse affected higher proportions of African Americans (11.05%), Pacific Islanders (10.05%), and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (14.69%) than Whites (8.58%). Roughly two percent of past 30-day prescription opioid misusers reported using heroin in the past 30 days compared to 0.22% of the overall sample. However, the most frequently used illicit drug among prescription opioid misusers was cocaine (6.94%), followed by other illicit drugs (3.68%) and crystal meth (2.69%). Additional analyses will assess differences in prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use by education, sex, and income. Conclusions: Prescription opioid misusers are at risk for other types of drug use. Further, unlike much prior surveillance data, our analysis of self-reports shows opioid use disproportionately affects minorities.
Keyword(s)Prescription Drug Abuse and MIsuse Drug abuse
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book TitleAmerican Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition
Author(s)Faller, Rachel W.
Erausquin, Jennifer T.
McCoy, Thomas P.