Length of time in US associated with immigrants' opioid use

October 25, 2019

Bottom Line: The more time first-generation immigrants spend in the United States the more likely it appears they will use prescription opioids. This analysis used nationally representative survey data on health services that include prescription medications and self-reported length of time spent in the country. Among an estimated 41.5 million adult immigrants living in the United States, 3.2 million (7.8%) use prescription opioids. Study authors report the rate of opioid use increased from 4.7% among new immigrants (less than five years in the U.S.) to 14.8% among long-standing immigrants (in the U.S. 15 years or more). Nonimmigrants were more likely to use prescription opioids compared with all first-generation immigrants (16.1% vs. 7.8%). The findings suggest uniquely American cultural factors may promote opioid use.

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Authors: Brian D. Sites, M.D., M.S., Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13979)

Editor's Note: The article includes conflict of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
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Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Brian D. Sites, M.D., M.S., email Audra Burns at Audra.Burns@hitchcock.org. The full study is linked to this news release.

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