Immigrants' prescription opioid use increases the longer they are in the US

  • Sites BD & al.
  • JAMA Netw Open
  • 02.10.2019

  • von Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • The odds of prescription opioid use among immigrants increased as they spent more time in the United States, although nonimmigrants were still significantly more likely to use prescription opioids than immigrants.

Why this matters

  • The findings suggest that there may be cultural factors to prescription opioid use that are specific to the United States.

Study design

  • National estimates were calculated from a sample of 13,635 adult immigrants.
  • Immigrants were categorized as new (
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Of 41.5 million adult immigrants, 7.8% use prescription opioids.
  • Nonimmigrants were significantly more likely to use prescription opioids vs first-generation immigrants (16.1% vs 7.8%; aOR, 1.35; P=.005).
  • Length of time spent in the United States showed a positive association with the likelihood of prescription opioid use (Ptrend<.001>
  • The adjusted rate of opioid use was 4.7% among new immigrants and 14.8% among long-standing immigrants.
  • Compared with new immigrants, the risk for prescription opioid use was:
    • more than 4-fold in long-standing immigrants (aOR, 4.18; P=.001) and
    • more than 5-fold higher in nonimmigrants (aOR, 5.17; P<.001>

Limitations

  • Observational study.

Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm