Distress and pain key reasons for prescription opioid abuse
A study led by Monash University researchers, in collaboration with Turning Point and Ambulance Victoria, has shown that distress and pain are the key reasons people are taking opioids in higher doses than prescribed or without a prescription, referred to as extramedical prescription use.
Using data collected during ambulance attendances between 2013 and 2018, the study analysed paramedic records relating to the overuse of oxycodone, which is seen in most overdose cases and is the most commonly prescribed opioid used to treat pain, as well as tapentadol – a newer opioid which has been associated with lower levels of misuse or harms.
The study, led by Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen, found strong similarities across both drug types but surprisingly highlights that people self-medicate due to a complex mix of mental health issues, chronic illness, work-related stress or family problems.
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