Past-year use of prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines among adults in the United States: Estimating medical and nonmedical use in 2015-2016.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 11 01; 204:107458.DA
The growing use of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines has become a major health threat in the United States, so it is important to document their use among adults to inform health policies or interventions.
This study included 81,186 adults ages 18 and older from 2015 and 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Participants' self-reported medical and nonmedical use of prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines in the past year was assessed along with their demographic characteristics.
In 2015-2016, 41.13% of adults reported using prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines in the past year; 8.24% reported both, 28.59% reported prescription opioids only, and 4.30% reported benzodiazepines only. The majority of adults used the drugs for medical purposes, including 71.35% of participants who reported both drugs in the past year, 90.36% of those who reported prescription opioids only, and 86.24% of those who reported benzodiazepines only. Younger adults ages 18-34 were more likely to use prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines for nonmedical purposes compared to adults ages 35 and over.
In the United States, the proportion of adults who used prescription opioids and/or benzodiazepines in the past year was high; most of them reported using these drugs for medical purposes. Special attention is needed to prevent potentially unnecessary medical co-prescribing of these drugs, particularly among younger adults, who were more likely report nonmedical use of both drugs than older adults.