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Routes into Opioid Analgesic Misuse: Emergent Typologies of Initiation

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 45 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2015 Pages: 385-395
Date Published
October 2015
11 pages

Although the non-medical use of opioid analgesics (OAs) has increased in the United States over the past decade, there has been little in-depth exploration into the circumstances of initiation of OA misuse, so this study collected qualitative data from five focus groups conducted with individuals who misused OAs in New York City.


Participants (n = 19) were between 20 and 47 years old. The majority were male (n = 14) and non-Hispanic White (n = 12). Three initiate groups were identified: recreational initiates, who typically began misusing OAs in their teens through non-medical sources; medical initiates, who initiated OA use through medical treatment; and experienced opioid users, who initiated OA use through both recreational and medical channels but whose entry into misuse followed a history of heroin use. Findings show heterogeneous patterns of initiation, indicating the need for prevention and intervention strategies to be tailored to particular groups. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: October 1, 2015