How Do Prescription Opioid Users Differ From Users of Heroin or Other Drugs in Psychopathology: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Journal of Addiction Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.76). 03/2011; 5(1):28-35. DOI: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181e0364e
Source: PubMed


To study substance use and psychiatric disorders among prescription opioid users, heroin users, and non-opioid drug users in a national sample of adults.
Analyses of data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (N=43,093).
Four groups were identified among 9140 illicit or non-prescribed drug users: heroin-other opioid users (1.0%; used heroin and other opioids), other opioid-only users (19.8%; used other opioids but never heroin), heroin-only users (0.5%; used heroin but never other opioids), and non-opioid drug users (78.7%; used drugs but never heroin or other opioids). After adjusting for variations in socioeconomic characteristics, history of substance abuse treatment, and familial substance abuse, heroin-other opioid users had greater odds of several substance use disorders (cocaine, hallucinogen, sedative, amphetamine, and tranquilizer) as compared with the other groups; heroin-only users had reduced odds of sedative and tranquilizer use disorders as compared with other opioid-only users. Non-opioid drug users had reduced odds of all substance use disorders and other mental disorders (mood, anxiety, pathological gambling, and personality) as compared with other opioid-only users. Past-year other opioid-only users also reported slightly lower scores on quality of life than past-year non-opioid drug users.
All opioid use groups had higher rates of substance use disorders than non-opioid drug users, and these rates were particularly elevated among heroin-other opioid users. Findings suggest the need to distinguish between these four groups in research and treatment as they may have different natural histories and treatment needs.

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Available from: Li-Tzy Wu, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "Recent studies have indicated that pharmaceutical opioid users are different from heroin users with regard to socioeconomic characteristics, comorbid substance use, family history of substance use and mental illness [10] [11] [12] [13]. Primary heroin users are found to have a severe pattern of drug use, lower social stability and higher level of treatment use compared with pharmaceutical opioid users. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction and aims: Injecting pharmaceutical opioids for non-medical purposes is a major concern globally. Though pharmaceutical opioids injection is reported in India, the exact proportion of people who inject drugs (PWID) using pharmaceutical opioids is unknown. The objectives of this study were to describe the various types of drugs that are injected by people in India and to analyse the differences between the commonly injected drugs. Design and methods: A cross-sectional, multicentric study covering 22 harm-reduction sites from different regions of the country was conducted. First 50 subjects, chosen randomly from a list of PWIDs accessing services from each site and fulfilling study criteria, were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data from 902 male subjects are presented here. Results: Pharmaceutical opioid injectors (POI) accounted for 65% of PWIDs (buprenorphine: 30.8%, pentazocine: 21.8% and dextropropoxyphene: 11.9%). Heroin, injected by 34.3%, was prevalent in most states surveyed. Buprenorphine and pentazocine were not injected in the north-east region, whereas dextropropoxyphene was injected in the north-east alone. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression showed that, compared with heroin injectors, the POI group was more likely to consume alcohol and pharmaceutical opioids orally, inject frequently, share needle/syringes and develop injection-site complications. Among individual POIs, buprenorphine injectors had significantly higher proportion of subjects injecting frequently, sharing needle/syringes and developing local complications. Irrespective of the opioid type, majority of subjects were opioid dependent. Discussion and conclusions: Pharmaceutical opioids are the most common drugs injected in India currently and have greater injection-related risks and complications. Significant differences exist between different pharmaceutical opioids, which would be important considerations for interventions.
    Drug and Alcohol Review 10/2014; 34(1). DOI:10.1111/dar.12208 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    • "Moreover, accurate estimates of the numbers of NMPDUs in treatment facilities are not available due to a lack of data characterizing specific prescription medication use and a lack of studies that include both private and public treatment facilities [11]. Health and social risk profiles of treatment seeking NMPDUs are needed, as these individuals are likely to differ from other substance users in terms of specific characteristics that could impact treatment services needs, such as underlying medical conditions and demographics [10,12-14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known regarding the demographic and behavioral characteristics of nonmedical prescription drug users (NMPDUs) entering substance abuse treatment settings, and information on the HIV-related risk profiles of NMPDUs is especially lacking. Participation in substance abuse treatment provides a critical opportunity for HIV prevention and intervention, but successful initiatives will require services appropriately tailored for the needs of NMPDUs. This paper compares the HIV risk profiles of NMPDUs in public (n = 246) and private (n = 249) treatment facilities. Participants included in the analysis reported five or more recent episodes of nonmedical prescription drug use, a prior HIV negative test result, and current enrollment in a substance abuse treatment facility. A standardized questionnaire was administered by trained interviewers with questions about demographics, HIV risk, and substance use. Private treatment clients were more likely to be non-Hispanic White, younger, and opioid and heroin users. Injection drug use was higher among private treatment clients, whereas public clients reported higher likelihood of trading or selling sex. Public treatment clients reported higher rates of HIV testing and availability at their treatment facilities compared to private clients. Findings suggest differing demographics, substance use patterns, profiles of HIV risk and access to HIV testing between the two treatment samples. Population tailored HIV interventions, and increased access to HIV testing in both public and private substance treatment centers, appear to be warranted.
    Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy 02/2014; 9(1):9. DOI:10.1186/1747-597X-9-9 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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    • "Since 1999, intentional overdose deaths related to PO have quadrupled and now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined [5]. Young non-medical users of POs are often unaware of the risks associated with their use [6], tending to view prescribed drugs as safer, less stigmatised and less subject to legal penalties than illicit street drugs [7] [8]. Although most non-medical PO use begins with oral ingestion, recent research indicates that a significant minority may transition to the use of heroin and/or administration of opioids by injection, typically within 2–3 years of initiating use [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids is associated with a range of negative health consequences, including the development of dependence, emergency room presentations and overdose deaths. Drawing on life history data from a broader qualitative study of the non-medical use of painkillers, this brief report presents two cases of transitions from recreational or non-medical pharmaceutical opioid use to intravenous heroin use by young adults in Australia. Although our study was not designed to assess whether recreational oxycodone use is causally linked to transitions to intravenous use, polyopioid use places individuals at high risk for progression to heroin and injecting. Our first case, Jake, used a range of analgesics before he transitioned to intravenous use, and the first drug he injected was methadone. Our second case, Emma, engaged in a broad spectrum of polydrug use, involving a range of opioid preparations, as well as benzodiazepines, cannabis and alcohol. Both cases transitioned from oral to intravenous pharmaceutical opioids use and subsequent intravenous heroin use. These cases represent the first documented reports of transitions from the non-medical or recreational use of oxycodone to intravenous heroin use in Australia. As such, they represent an important starting point for the examination of pharmaceutical opioids as a pathway to injecting drug use among young Australians and highlight the need for further research designed to identify pharmaceutical opioids users at risk of transitions to injecting and to develop interventions designed to prevent or delay these transitions. [Dertadian G, Maher L. From oxycodone to heroin: Two cases of transitioning opioid use in young Australians. Drug Alcohol Rev 2013].
    Drug and Alcohol Review 11/2013; 33(1). DOI:10.1111/dar.12093 · 1.55 Impact Factor
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