Online Program

Women's participation in a opiate pill sharing network

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cynthia Bass-Thomas, M.S., CHES, Health & Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Amber Dorsey, M.S., Health & Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Background: In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported widespread prescription opioid use among reproductive-aged women, and these women have an increased risk of death from an overdose. Limited research is available regarding pill sharing networks and prescription drug abuse. Therefore, this study will examine the relationship between women’s participation in pill sharing networks and the number of opiate pills taken per month.

Method: The target population will be drawn from women who are opiate prescription abusers in Nashville, TN. The sample size will consist of 2 to 3 networks with 10 to 20 participants each. A cross-sectional research design method will be employed, in addition to combining qualitative interviews and survey research, and a network analysis.

Results: The anticipated results should show women who are central figures in a pill sharing network are more likely to take at least 30 opiate pills per month than women who are on the fringes of pill sharing networks. Other expected outcomes will identify participant’s interactions within a pill sharing network amongst one another, and how doctor shopping is navigated outside of their network.


  Conclusion: The number of opiate pills taken, the extent of participation in a pill sharing network, and diversion mechanism are factors that should be considered when designing measurement instruments and interventions to reduce prescription opiate abuse among this population.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe information measuring the distance between women and the number of direct and indirect links they have within the pill sharing network.

Keyword(s): Drug Abuse, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am CHES certified and teach the Certified Health Education Specialist course as a teaching assistant at Middle Tennessee State University. I have been a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor for over 16 years and an HIV/Aids Educator certified by the Red Cross for 14 years. I have worked in several substance abuse treatment facilities servicing both men/women populations. I have also served as a Residential Manager in a adolescent male independent living home.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.