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Changes in non-opioid substitution treatment episodes for pharmaceutical opioids and heroin from 2002 to 2011


Nielsen, S and Roxburgh, A and Bruno, R and Lintzeris, M and Jefferson, A and Degenhardt, L, Changes in non-opioid substitution treatment episodes for pharmaceutical opioids and heroin from 2002 to 2011, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 149 pp. 212-219. ISSN 0376-8716 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.02.004


Background: There has been a well-documented increase in the non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids (PO) worldwide. However, there has been little detailed examination of treatment demand, or the characteristics of those presenting for treatment, particularly for treatments other than opioid substitution.

Methods: Data from closed drug and alcohol treatment episodes from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set (AODTS-NMDS, representing non-opioid substitution treatment) in Australia for 20022003 to 20102011 were examined. In the four jurisdictions where detailed data were available, episodes where heroin was the principal drug of concern were compared to episodes for the four most frequently reported pharmaceutical opioids (morphine, codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone).

Results: In 20022003, most (93%) opioid treatment was related to heroin with seven percent of all opioid treatment episodes reporting a PO as the principal drug of concern. In 20102011, 20% of all opioid treatment episodes were attributed to POs. Distinct changes over time were observed for different opioids. There was an increase in the average age at the start of treatment for heroin and oxycodone episodes, and a reduction in the proportion of females for codeine episodes, with 67% in 20022003 compared with 44% in 20102011. Codeine and oxycodone episodes had the lowest current or past injection rates.

Conclusions: Clear differences were observed over time and between different opioids. Monitoring these emerging patterns will be important to inform treatment needs, particularly in light of different patterns of poly drug use, different routes of administration and changing demographic characteristics.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:treatment, oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, prescription opioid, prescription drug misuse
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:99359
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:36
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2015-03-23
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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