The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4102.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Board 8

Abstract #68116

Rise of a new substance abuse epidemic? Trends in medical use and abuse of opioid analgesics revisited

Hung-En Sung, PhD and Patrick B. Johnson, PhD. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

National data from 1990 through 1996 revealed that the use of opioid analgesics to treat pain did not contribute to increases in the abuse of these substances. In the present work, we present findings that expand on this earlier work by analyzing data collected from 1990 to 2001 from the Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS), the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), and the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). Findings revealed that, although increases in the medical use of major opioid analgesics did not trigger a parallel growth in the abuse of these drugs between 1990 and 1996, the continuous rise in the legal prescription of these same drugs between 1997 and 2001 appeared to be accompanied by a sharp increase in the abuse of opioid analgesics. Furthermore, findings suggested that the opioid analgesics that experienced the most dramatic market expansions between 1997 and 2001 (i.e. fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone) also experienced the greatest increases in rates of abuse. Finally, findings suggested that the emergence of American youth as consumers of prescription-type pain relievers for nonmedical purposes may be one of the driving forces behind the sharp increase in opioid analgesic consumption and opioid analgesic-related emergency room visits in recent years. Policy implications and future research directions will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Prescription Drug Use Patterns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Emerging Patterns of Substance Use Poster Session

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA