CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Patterns of Prescription Opioid Abuse and Comorbidity in an Aging Treatment Population

Department

Department of Justice and Human Service

Publication Date

1-1-2012

Publication Title

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Volume

42

Issue

1

First Page

87

Last Page

94

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Very little is known about the impact of age and gender on drug abuse treatment needs. To examine this, we recruited 2,573 opioid-dependent patients, aged from 18 to 75 years, entering treatment across the country from 2008 to 2010 to complete a self-administered survey examining drug use histories and the extent of comorbid psychiatric and physical disorders. Moderate to very severe pain and psychiatric disorders, including polysubstance abuse, were present in a significant fraction of 18- to 24-year-olds, but their severity grew exponentially as a function of age: 75% of those older than 45 years had debilitating pain and psychiatric problems. Women had more pain than men and much worse psychiatric issues in all age groups. Our results indicate that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to prevention, intervention, and treatment of opioid abuse that ignores the shifting needs of opioid-abusing men and women as they age is destined to fail.

DOI

10.1016/j.jsat.2011.07.003

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