Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use and Use Disorders Among Adults Aged 18 Through 64 Years in the United States, 2003-2013 | Addiction Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
October 13, 2015

Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use and Use Disorders Among Adults Aged 18 Through 64 Years in the United States, 2003-2013

Author Affiliations
  • 1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland
  • 2National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 3Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland
JAMA. 2015;314(14):1468-1478. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.11859
Abstract

Importance  Since 1999, the United States has experienced increases in morbidity and mortality associated with nonmedical use of prescription opioids.

Objective  To assess national trends in and characteristics of nonmedical prescription opioid use and use disorders and the national trend in related mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Prevalence of nonmedical use and use disorders and related risk factors were based on data from 472 200 persons aged 18 through 64 years who participated in the 2003-2013 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Mortality was based on the 2003-2013 National Vital Statistics System’s Multiple Cause of Death Files.

Exposures  Prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription opioids.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Nonmedical prescription opioid use and use disorders.

Results  Among adults aged 18 through 64 years, the prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription opioids decreased from 5.4% (95% CI, 5.08%-5.70%) in 2003 to 4.9% (95% CI, 4.58%-5.22%) in 2013 (absolute difference, −0.5%; 95% CI, −0.11% to −0.89%), but the prevalence of prescription opioid use disorders increased from 0.6% (95% CI, 0.54%-0.76%) in 2003 to 0.9% (95% CI, 0.75%-1.01%) in 2013 (absolute difference, 0.3%; 95% CI, 0.03%-0.43%). The 12-month prevalence of high-frequency use (≥200 days) also increased from 0.3% (95% CI, 0.19%-0.35%) in 2003 to 0.4% (95% CI, 0.31%-0.48%) in 2013 (absolute difference, 0.1%; 95% CI, 0.01%-0.29%). Mortality assessed by drug overdose death rates involving prescription opioids increased from 4.5 per 100 000 (95% CI, 4.42-4.61) in 2003 to 7.8 per 100 000 (95% CI, 7.64-7.89) in 2013 (absolute difference, 3.3; 95% CI, 3.09-3.41) among adults aged 18 through 64 years. The mean number of days of nonmedical use of prescription opioids increased from 2.1 (95% CI, 1.83-2.37) in 2003 to 2.6 (95% CI, 2.27-2.85) in 2013 (absolute difference, 0.5, 95% CI, 0.05-0.86). The model-adjusted prevalence of having prescription opioid use disorders among nonmedical users increased to 15.7% (95% CI, 13.87%-17.67%) in 2010, 16.1% (95% CI, 14.36%-17.99%) in 2011, 17.0% (95% CI, 15.07%-19.12%) in 2012, and 16.9% (95% CI, 14.95%-19.03%) in 2013 from 12.7% (95% CI, 11.04%-14.53%) in 2003.

Conclusions and Relevance  During the 2003-2013 years, among adults aged 18 through 64 years, the percentage of nonmedical use of prescription opioids decreased. In contrast, the prevalence of prescription opioid use disorders, frequency of use, and related mortality increased.

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