Factors Associated with Prescription Opioid Analgesic Use in the US Population, 2011–2014
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Factors Associated with Prescription Opioid Analgesic Use in the US Population, 2011–2014

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Pain Med
    • Description:

      This study examined factors associated with prescription opioid analgesic use in the US population using data from a nationally representative sample. It focused on factors previously shown to be associated with opioid use disorder or overdose. Variations in the use of different strength opioid analgesics by demographic subgroup were also examined.


      Data came from respondents aged 16 years and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2011–2014). Respondents were classified as opioid users if they reported using one or more prescription opioid analgesics in the past 30 days.


      Opioid users reported poorer self-perceived health than those not currently using opioids. Compared with those not using opioids, opioid users were more likely to rate their health as being “fair” or “poor” (40.4% [95% confidence interval {CI} = 34.9%–46.2%] compared with 15.6% [95% CI = 14.3%–17.1%]), experienced more days of pain during the past 30 days (mean = 14.3 [95% CI = 12.9–15.8] days compared with 2.3 [95% CI = 2.0–2.7] days), and had depression (22.5% [95% CI = 17.3%–28.7%] compared with 7.1% [95% CI = 6.2%–8.0%]). Among those who reported using opioids during the past 30 days, 18.8% (95% CI = 14.4%–24.1%) reported using benzodiazepine medication during the same period and 5.2% (95% CI = 3.5%–7.7%) reported using an illicit drug during the past six months. When opioid strength was examined, a smaller percentage of adults aged 60 years and older used stronger-than-morphine opioids compared with adults aged 20–39 and 40–59 years.


      Higher percentages of current opioid users than nonusers reported having many of the factors associated with opioid use disorder and overdose.

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