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OxyContin® use and misuse in three populations: Substance abuse patients, pain patients, and criminal justice participants

Martha J. Wunsch, MD, Karen L. Cropsey, PsyD, Eleanor D. Campbell, MS, Janet S. Knisely, PhD


Objective: This study was designed to describe and compare individuals in rural Appalachia prescribed, abusing or diverting OxyContin® a region with high rates of prescription medication abuse and misuse.
Setting and Participants: Fifty subjects treated for OxyContin®abuse, 34 subjects prescribed OxyContin®for pain and 50 subjects incarcerated due to OxyContin®-related charges from rural Appalachia.
Interventions: The Addiction Severity Index, DSM-IV Checklist, and an investigator developed questionnaire were administered to all three groups.
Results: All three groups included individuals prescribed OxyContin® for pain and demographic variables and psychiatric/medical histories failed to discriminate between the pain and substance abuse (SA) subjects. SA and criminal justice subjects were significantly more likely to have a current DSM-IV diagnosis of psychoactive abuse/dependence and more likely to be younger and unmarried.
Conclusion: This study found that these groups are not distinct and in depth evaluations, including a detailed SA history, are needed to identify the pain patient at risk for abuse and/or diversion of prescribed opioids.


prescription medication misuse and abuse, OxyContin (TM), pain patients, criminal justice, substance abuse

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