Patterns of Opioid Use, Misuse, and Abuse in the Military, VA, and US Population

 

 

November 30, 2012

Patterns of Opioid Use, Misuse, and Abuse in the Military, VA, and US Population

Mark Edlund, MD, PhD
Senior Research Public Health Analyst
Behavioral Health Epidemiology Program
Research Triangle Institute

Since 1980, use of chronic opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain has approximately doubled every 10 years.  Increases in use of opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain have been paralleled by increased rates of opioid misuse and abuse.  Prescription opioid abuse is now the fastest growing form of drug abuse and prescription opioids are the most common cause of accidental drug overdose in the U.S.  Because of the risk of opioid misuse and opioid use, a central question in prescribing opioids for chronic non-cancer pain is how to best balance the benefits of pain relief with the risks of opioid use.  To achieve this balance, researchers, clinicians, and policy makers need better information on the prevalence of, and risk factors for, opioid misuse and opioid use disorders.  Further, a knowledge of risk factors for opioid misuse and abuse is essential for clinicians as they screen for opioid misuse and abuse in their patients.

This presentation will: 
**  address the epidemiology of opioid misuse and abuse in the general U.S. population, veterans, and active military personnel, including risk factors for abuse such as depression,  

** describe the phenomenon of  "adverse selection" in which the individuals most likely to be prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain are also the most vulnerable to opioid abuse, and 

**  focus on implications for clinical care, both for physicians who prescribe opioids to their patients with chronic non-cancer pain and for those physicians who do not routinely treat chronic non-cancer pain but whose patients are at high risk for opioid abuse, such as psychiatrists. 

Please  access Dr. Edlund's presentation slides.