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Research Letter
May 2014

Sources of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers by Frequency of Past-Year Nonmedical Use: United States, 2008-2011

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(5):802-803. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12809

The health consequences of nonmedical use of prescription opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, are significant.1 The commonly cited statistic that most nonmedical users obtain these medications from friends or family for free2 often serves as the basis for interventions focused on patients. This statistic, however, reflects sources among all nonmedical users, from those who used the drug once or twice to more frequent users. Recent research indicates that frequent nonmedical users are increasing in numbers and differ from infrequent users with respect to high-risk behaviors.3,4 Little research has examined whether the source of opioid medication differs by frequency of nonmedical use. Such research can inform the development of appropriately targeted interventions.