Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas — United States
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Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas — United States

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English

Details:

  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Surveill Summ
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:
    Problem/Condition

    Drug overdoses are a leading cause of injury death in the United States, resulting in approximately 52,000 deaths in 2015. Understanding differences in illicit drug use, illicit drug use disorders, and overall drug overdose deaths in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas is important for informing public health programs, interventions, and policies.

    Reporting Period

    Illicit drug use and drug use disorders during 2003–2014, and drug overdose deaths during 1999–2015.

    Description of Data

    The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) collects information through face-to-face household interviews about the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco among the U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian population aged ≥12 years. Respondents include residents of households and noninstitutional group quarters (e.g., shelters, rooming houses, dormitories, migratory workers’ camps, and halfway houses) and civilians living on military bases. NSDUH variables include sex, age, race/ethnicity, residence (metropolitan/nonmetropolitan), annual household income, self-reported drug use, and drug use disorders.

    Results

    Although both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas experienced significant increases from 2003–2005 to 2012–2014 in self-reported past-month use of illicit drugs, the prevalence was highest for the large metropolitan areas compared with small metropolitan or nonmetropolitan areas throughout the study period. Notably, past-month use of illicit drugs declined over the study period for the youngest respondents (aged 12–17 years). The prevalence of past-year illicit drug use disorders among persons using illicit drugs in the past year varied by metropolitan/nonmetropolitan status and changed over time. Across both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, the prevalence of past-year illicit drug use disorders declined during 2003–2014.

    Interpretation

    Drug use and subsequent overdoses continue to be a critical and complicated public health challenge across metropolitan/nonmetropolitan areas. The decline in illicit drug use by youth and the lower prevalence of illicit drug use disorders in rural areas during 2012–2014 are encouraging signs. However, the increasing rate of drug overdose deaths in rural areas, which surpassed rates in urban areas, is cause for concern.

    Public Health Actions

    Understanding the differences between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in drug use, drug use disorders, and drug overdose deaths can help public health professionals to identify, monitor, and prioritize responses. Consideration of where persons live and where they die from overdose could enhance specific overdose prevention interventions, such as training on naloxone administration or rescue breathing. Educating prescribers on CDC’s guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain (Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain—United States, 2016. MMWR Recomm Rep 2016;66[No. RR-1]) and facilitating better access to medication-assisted treatment with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone could benefit communities with high opioid use disorder rates.

  • Subjects:
  • Source:
  • Pubmed ID:
    29049278
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5829955
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