Traumatic injuries and persistent opioid use in the USA: Findings from a nationally representative survey

Suliman Alghnam, Renan Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background Although opioid abuse is a rising epidemic in the USA, there are no studies to date on the incidence of persistent opioid use following injuries. Therefore, the aims of this study are: (1) to examine the incidence of persistent opioid use among a nationally representative sample of injured and non-injured populations; (2) to evaluate whether an injury is an independent predictor of persistent opioid use. Method Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were pooled (years 2009-2012). Adults were followed for about 2 years, during which they were surveyed about injury status and opioid use every 4-5 months. To determine whether injuries are associated with persistent opioid use, weighted multiple logistic regressions were constructed. Results While 2.3 million injured individuals received any opioid during the follow-up, 371 170 (15.6%) individuals became persistent opioid users (defined as opioid use across multiple time points). In a multiple logistic regression analysis adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and self-reported health, those who sustained injuries were 1.4 times (95% CI 1.1 to 1.9) more likely to report persistent opioid use than those without injuries. Conclusions We found injuries to be significantly associated with persistent opioid use in a nationally representative sample. Further investment in injury prevention may facilitate reduction of persistent opioid use and, thus, improve population health and reduce health expenditures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalInjury Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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