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Journal Article


Li C, Santaella-Tenorio J, Mauro PM, Martins SS. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019; 204: e107458.


Zhengzhou Central Hospital Affiliated to Zhengzhou University, Henan, China. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






BACKGROUND: 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.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Language: en


Benzodiazepines; Nonmedical use; Policies and interventions; Prescription opioids


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