Older Adults Likely to Use High-Risk Methods to Obtain Opioids

HealthDay News — About 15% of older adults use high-risk methods for obtaining prescription opioids, according to a study published online on August 26, 2016 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.1

Sarah L. Gold, MSW, from the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, and colleagues analyzed cross-sectional survey data from the New Jersey Older Adult Survey on Drug Use and Health for 725 adults aged 60 years and older. The authors examined ways in which older adults obtain prescription opioids. High-risk methods included obtaining prescriptions for the same drug from more than one doctor and/or stealing prescription drugs.

The researchers found that high-risk methods for obtaining prescription opioids were used by nearly 15% of the sample. The prevalence of high-risk obtainment of prescription opioids was increased 3-fold for adults who previously used a prescription opioid recreationally.

“These findings illustrate the importance of strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs to reduce high-risk use of prescription drugs in older adults by alerting doctors and pharmacists to potential prescription drug misuse and interactions,” the authors write.

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  1. Gold SL, Powell KG, Eversman MH, Peterson NA, Borys S, Hallcom DK. High-Risk Obtainment of Prescription Drugs by Older Adults in New Jersey: The Role of Prescription Opioids. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14430.