Prevalence of Concurrent Prescription Opioid and Hazardous Alcohol Use Among Older Women: Results from a Cross-Sectional Study of Community Members
Concurrent use of prescription medications and alcohol is prevalent among older adults and impacts women more than men, however little is known about characteristics of older women who use both. The current analysis aims to evaluate those characteristics. Participants were recruited through HealthStreet, an outreach program. Community health workers (CHWs) assess health needs and concerns among community members. CHWs collect demographic, substance use, and other health data from participants. Female participants (≥ 50 years) interviewed November 2011–November 2017 were included and stratified into four groups: neither prescription opioid nor hazardous alcohol use (three or more drinks in a single day), hazardous alcohol use only, prescription opioid use only, and both prescription opioid and hazardous alcohol use. Chi square and ANOVA tests were used to compare these groups. Among the 2370 women (53% black; mean age 61 years), 70% reported neither prescription opioid nor hazardous alcohol use, 12% reported hazardous alcohol use only, 15% reported prescription opioid use only, and 3% reported use of both in the past 30 days. Concurrent prescription opioid and hazardous alcohol use were significantly associated with comorbid depression and anxiety (p < 0.0001); women who endorsed prescription opioid use only were significantly more likely to report a history of back pain, cancer, or diabetes compared to their counterparts (p < 0.0001). Nearly a third of women reported prescription opioid and/or hazardous alcohol use in the past 30 days. Because the risk and consequences of concomitant alcohol and opioid use increase with age, interventions tailored to women are needed.
KeywordsPrescription opioids Drinking Women Community-engaged research
Funding was provided by National Institutes of Health and National Clinical and Translational Science Award with Grant No. UL1, TR000064 and National Institute on Drug Abuse with Grant No. T32DA035167.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors report no relevant financial conflicts.
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