Almost 60 percent of adults who misused opioids didn’t have a prescription, and more than 40 percent of those cases involved people who obtained drugs from their family members or friends, according to data published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The numbers were collected by the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in a questionnaire that was completed online by more than 51,000 people who were U.S. residents and over the age of 12.
Their answers revealed other concerning elements of the opioid crisis: 38 percent of U.S. adults used an opioid medication and more than 12 percent of those who were using an opioid-based prescription in 2015 also claimed to have misused their drugs.
“We think that this report is consistent with the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic,” said Dr. Beth Han, author, and statistician at the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. “We have been and continue to monitor this trend so unfortunately, these numbers are not very surprising to us.”
The data highlighted that people who were unemployed, did not have high-income earnings or were not covered by health insurance were more likely to abuse prescription drugs.
“The people that are less likely to have access to proper pain treatment are more likely to get prescriptions from friends to manage their own pain, which is why they misuse [prescription opioids] more,” Han explained, adding that misuse is inherent among those that choose to take opioids without medical supervision.
The majority of the people who admitted to misusing prescription opioids explained that they did so to relieve pain. Anxiety and other conditions linked to debilitated mental health were also listed as reasons behind opioid prescription misuse.
Consequently, the report emphasized that there’s a need for… (continue reading)