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23rd Annual Meeting
February 7-10, 2007
New Orleans, LA

© 2006 American Academy of Pain Medicine

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Abuser-Reported Sources of Illegally Obtained Opioid Analgesic Medications

Ann T. Kline, MS1, Meredith Y. Smith, MPA, PhD1, J. David Haddox, DDS, MD1, John P. Fitzgerald, MS, LPC, CAS1, Andrew Rosenblum, PhD2, Chunki Fong, MS2, Mark Parrino, MPA3, and Carleen Maxwell, MPH3. (1) Purdue Pharma L.P., Stamford, CT, USA, (2) National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI), New York, NY, USA, (3) American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), New York, NY, USA

Illegally obtained opioid medications present an ongoing and challenging dilemma to society at large, while also impacting the legitimate prescribing of opioids for those individuals with moderate to severe chronic pain conditions. The principal purpose of this analysis was to ascertain how opioid analgesic abusers obtained their drug. Data were obtained from a cross-sectional, structured, self-report questionnaire administered at intake to individuals at 69 US methadone maintenance treatment programs (MMTPs) between January 2005 – September 2005. Of the 5,803 respondents, 59% reported an opioid analgesic as their primary drug of abuse within the past month. The most commonly reported sources for obtaining opioid analgesics included: dealers (81.6%), friends or relatives (50.4%), physician prescription (30.5%), emergency room visits (13.9%), theft (6.2%), forged prescription (2.9%), internet (2.4%), and other (not specified) (3.1%). Despite media reports suggesting that the internet is a primary source for illegally obtained prescription opioids, only a small percentage of opioid analgesic abusers reported this as a source of their drug supply.

References: McCabe SE, Boyd, CJ. Sources of prescription drugs for illicit use. Addictive Behaviors 30:1342–1350, 2005

Cicero TJ, Inciardi JA, Munoz A. Trends in the Abuse of OxyContin® and Other Opioid Analgesics in the United States: 2002-2004. Journal of Pain.  6(10):662-672, 2005
Funding: None

Ann T. Kline, MS
Nothing to disclose.