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Misuse of Rx Opioids Linked to Other High-Risk Behaviors

Prescribed opioid misuse strongly tied to other drug use disorders, illegal activity, psychological distress

opioid crisis

FRIDAY, Feb. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Misuse of prescribed opioids is associated with other high-risk drug behaviors, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety.

Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH; 2015 and 2016) to identify 31,068 adult participants who reported using opioids in the previous year.

On the basis of weighted NSDUH estimates, the researchers determined that of U.S. adults who used prescribed opioids each year, 4.4 percent misused them. There were strong associations between prescribed-opioid misuse and co-occurring misuse of opioids without a prescription, misuse of benzodiazepines, other drug use disorders, history of illegal activity, and psychological distress. There was also a strong association between misuse of prescribed opioids and prescription opioid use disorder, especially among those who misused more potent opioids or started misusing opioids before the current year.

"The findings call for better monitoring of opioid prescription in clinical practice," the authors write.

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