Misuse of prescription pain relievers may be dropping
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 23, 2014) — New data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) suggest problems surrounding heroin use are increasing, especially in northern Kentucky, while misuse of prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet and codeine, may be dropping.
Young adults, ages 18-29, are most likely to know a family member or friend who has had problems as a result of drug use.
“KHIP suggests that Kentucky’s efforts, over the past few years, to curb prescription drug misuse are having a positive impact ,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Unfortunately, heroin-related problems appear to be on the rise. This information can be helpful to Kentucky policymakers as they devise strategies to reduce drug use.”
KHIP highlights include:
♦ One-third (30 percent) of adults in northern Kentucky report knowing a family member or friend who has had problems as a result of using heroin; statewide less than one in 10 (9 percent) report knowing a family member or friend who has had problems as a result of using heroin.
♦ Statewide, more than one in four (27 percent) reported having family members or friends who experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers; down from 33 percent in 2012.
[pullquote_left]15 percent reported knowing someone who has experienced problems as a result of meth use.[/pullquote_left]
♦ Eastern Kentucky has the highest percentage of adults (35 percent) who indicated family members or friends have experienced problems as a result of pain reliever abuse.
♦ Fewer than one in six (15 percent) reported having family members or friends who have experienced problems as a result of methamphetamine use.
♦ In the 18-29 age group nearly four in 10 (39 percent) have had family members or friends experience problems because of misusing prescription pain relievers; 26 percent reported problems from methamphetamine and 15 percent from heroin.
Kentucky ranks third in the nation for drug overdose deaths, behind only West Virginia and New Mexico. Drug overdose deaths per capita have quadrupled since 1999, surpassing motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in Kentucky.
The KHIP was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. The poll was conducted Oct. 25 to Nov. 26 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,551 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5 percent.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is a non-profit philanthropic organization that invests in communities and informs health policy through grant making, research and education.