Sharp Rise in Heroin Use Among Young Adults Who Use Nonmedical Prescription Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD Associate Professor of Epidemiology  Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032

Dr. Silvia Martins

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School Of Public Health
Columbia University
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Given the high probability of nonmedical use among adolescents and young adults, the potential development of prescription opioid use disorder secondary to nonmedical use among youth represents an important and growing public health concern. Still, no study had investigated time trends, specifically if prescription opioid use disorder has increased in the past decade among adolescents, emerging adults and young adults who are nonmedical users of prescription opioids.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings of this study can be described as follows:

1) there was an increase in the probability of having a prescription opioid use disorder (DSM-IV abuse and/or dependence) in the past year among past-year 18-34 year old nonmedical prescription opioids (NMPO) users (compared to 2002, in 2014 there was a 37% increase in the odds of having a disorder for emerging adults and a doubling of the odds among young adults);

2) there was a four-fold and nine-fold increase over time in the odds of heroin use among emerging adults and young adults who were NMPO users, respectively;

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study present the evidence in order to raise awareness and urgency to address these rising and problematic trends among youth. It is imperative that the general public, particularly youth, are informed about the related harms and disorders that can occur when prescription opioids are used without regular medical supervision.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research should continue to monitor trends in prescription opioid use disorder and heroin use in youth and young adults as well as further investigate how to best address and curb these increasing trends. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community

Citation:

Silvia S. Martins, Luis E. Segura, Julian Santaella-Tenorio, Alexander Perlmutter, Miriam C. Fenton, Magdalena Cerdá, Katherine M. Keyes, Lilian A. Ghandour, Carla L. Storr, Deborah S. Hasin. Prescription opioid use disorder and heroin use among 12-34 year-olds in the United States from 2002 to 2014. Addictive Behaviors, 2016; DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.08.033

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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