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Associations between public health indicators and injecting prescription opioids by prescription opioid abusers in substance abuse treatment

Ryan A. Black, PhD, Kimberlee J. Trudeau, PhD, Theresa A. Cassidy, MPH, Simon H. Budman, PhD, Stephen F. Butler, PhD


Objective: To determine what, if any, public health and societal impacts are associated specifically with injection of prescription opioids. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Setting: Five hundred forty treatment facilities in 35 states across the United States performing Addiction Severity Index-Multimedia Version (ASI-MV) assessments. Participants: Adult patients (29,459) who reported past 30-day abuse of any prescription opioid on the ASI-MV assessment between January 2007 and January 2011. Main outcome measures: The public health indicators selected for this study were liver disease, HIV/AIDS status, recent visit to an emergency room, treatment for pain, treatment for overdosing, homelessness, residence with alcohol/substance abuser, and unemployment. Results: Prescription opioid injection was significantly associated with health problems, psychosocial problems, and utilization of medical services. Conclusions: This study demonstrates an approach to measure the potential impact of injecting prescription opioids on public health indicators. Findings indicate a positive association between injection of prescription opioids and public health indicators suggesting a need for prescription opioid formulations that may inhibit injection of these medications. Keywords: prescription drug injection, public health, correlates DOI:10.5055/jom.2013.0142


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