Hospital Inpatient Utilization Related to Opioid Overuse Among Adults, 1993-2012 #177
Pamela L Owens, Ph.D., Marguerite L. Barrett, M.S., Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D., Raynard E. Washington, Ph.D., and Richard Kronick, Ph.D.
Opioids, or pain medications, are commonly used to manage pain associated with injury, illness, or following surgery. Opioids include both prescription pain medications, such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin.1 A variety of negative side effects can occur from opioid use, including vomiting, severe allergic reactions, and overdose.2 In 2010, opioids, predominantly prescription medications, were estimated to be nonmedically used by more than 12 million people,3 resulted in 425,000 emergency department visits,4 and were related to approximately 17,000 deaths.5,6
Opioid overdose can occur for a variety of reasons, including accidental and deliberate misuse of a prescription (e.g., taking more doses than prescribed), taking medication prescribed for someone else, and combining opioids with other substances such as alcohol. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recognized opioid misuse and abuse as a significant public health issue.8,9,10
This HCUP Statistical Brief presents data on adult inpatient hospitalizations involving overuse of opioids, including opioid dependence, abuse, poisoning, and adverse effects. Hospitalizations that involved illegal drug use were excluded from this analysis. Trends in hospital inpatient stays related to opioid overuse among adults are presented along with characteristics of these types of stays. Differences between group rate estimates noted in the text are statistically significant at the 0.05 level or better and differ by at least 10 percent.
Trends in inpatient hospitalizations involving opioid overuse, 1993-2012
The trend in the rate of hospital inpatient stays involving opioid overuse from 1993 to 2012 is presented in Figure 1. The rate is calculated per 100,000 population aged 18 years and older.