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J Gerontol Nurs. 2016 Dec 1;42(12):21-30. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20161110-06.

Opioid Misuse/Abuse and Quality Persistent Pain Management in Older Adults.


The United States is amid an epidemic of prescription opioid drug abuse, bringing with it not only high rates of overdose, but growing rates of heroin abuse and addiction. Liberal opioid drug prescribing on the part of well-meaning clinicians has in part fueled this epidemic, being correlated to opioid death and addiction treatment admission rates. Misuse and abuse of prescription opioid drugs is greatest among young adults (ages 18 to 25); however, the fastest growing age group for opioid drug misuse/abuse is older (ages 50 to 64). Prescription opioid drug use issues may emerge in the context of persistent pain, and risk factors for misuse/abuse and overdose in older patients with pain require further description. In keeping with national initiatives to combat prescription opioid drug abuse and overdose, current clinical guidelines reflect an "opioid-sparing" approach. To the degree that these guidelines improve persistent pain and opioid drug misuse/abuse outcomes, significant public health benefits will be accrued. Efforts to reduce both require action and are national priorities. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 42(12), 21-30.].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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