HealthDay News — Misuse of opioids by American adults more than doubled from the early 2000s to 2013, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Survey results indicated 4.1% of adults reported nonmedical use of opioids in 2012 to 2013. This means they took the drug without a prescription or more of the drug than prescribed or for longer periods or more often. Ten years earlier, 1.8% of adults reported this behavior. Moreover, the proportion of adults who reported nonmedical use of opioids at some point in their lives rose from 4.7% to more than 11% during the study period. And 2.1 million Americans met the criteria for opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction, in 2012 to 2013.

According to the report, rates of opioid misuse were highest among the following: men; people with annual incomes less than $70,000; those previously married; and people with a high school education or less. Misuse was also higher among whites and Native-Americans and those living in the Midwest and West. Only about 5% of adults who misused opioids in the past year and 17% of those with opioid addiction ever received treatment.

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“Given the dramatic increase in nonmedical use of prescription opioids, it is important that clinicians and patients also recognize the potent interaction of opioids with alcohol and other sedative-hypnotic drugs — an interaction that can be lethal,” George Koob, PhD, director of the NIAAA, said in an institute news release.

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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2016, June 22). Rates of nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder double in 10 years. Retrieved from