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Self-reported disposal of leftover opioids among US adults 50–80
  1. Calista M Harbaugh1,2,
  2. Preeti Malani3,
  3. Erica Solway2,
  4. Matthias Kirch2,
  5. Dianne Singer4,
  6. Michael J Englesbe1,2,
  7. Chad M Brummett2,5 and
  8. Jennifer F Waljee1,2
  1. 1Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  3. 3Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics and the Susan B Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  5. 5Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Calista M Harbaugh, Surgery, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5346, USA; calistah{at}med.umich.edu

Abstract

Objective To test the association between self-reported opioid disposal education and self-reported disposal of leftover opioids among older adults.

Design Web-based survey from the National Poll on Healthy Aging (March 2018) using population-based weighting for nationally representative estimates.

Subjects Older adults aged 50–80 years who reported filling an opioid prescription within the past 2 years.

Methods Respondents were asked whether they received education from a prescriber or pharmacist on how to dispose of leftover opioids and whether they disposed of leftover opioids from recent prescriptions. The association between self-reported opioid disposal education and self-reported disposal of leftover opioids was estimated with multivariable logistic regression, testing for interactions with respondent demographics.

Results Among 2013 respondents (74% response rate), 596 (28.9% (26.8%–31.2%)) were prescribed opioids within the past 2 years. Education on opioid disposal was reported by 40.1% of respondents (35.8%–44.5%). Among 295 respondents with leftover medication, 19.0% (14.6%–24.5%) disposed of the leftover medications. Opioid disposal education was associated with a greater likelihood of self-reported disposal of leftover opioids among non-white respondents as compared with white non-Hispanic respondents (36.7% (16.8%–56.6%) vs 7.8% (0.1%–15.6%), p<0.01).

Conclusions In this nationally representative survey, 49% had leftover opioids, yet only 20% of older adults reported disposal of leftover opioids. Opioid disposal education was variable in delivery, but was associated with disposal behaviors among certain populations. Strategies to promote disposal should integrate patient education on the risks of leftover opioid medications and explore additional barriers to accessing opioid disposal methods.

  • analgesics
  • opioid
  • patient education as topic
  • outcome assessment
  • health care
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @drchadb

  • Contributors CMH, PM, DS, and JFW developed the plan for the study. MK performed the data analysis. CMH wrote the first draft of the paper. PM, ES, and DS obtained funding. All authors contributed to the development of the study and interpretation of results. All authors contributed to the critical revision of the manuscript. CMH and JFW are the guarantors. The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet the authorship criteria and that no others meeting the criteria have been omitted.

  • Funding The National Poll on Healthy Aging is sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine.

  • Competing interests ES and MK report grant funding from AARP, during the conduct of the study. CMB, MJE, and JFW receive funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the University of Michigan Precision Health Initiative. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of SAMHSA or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. CMB reports a patent for peripheral perineural dexmedetomidine licensed to the University of Michigan and is a consultant for Heron Therapeutics (Redwood City, California), not related to the present work, and received research funding from Neuros Medical (Willoughby Hills, Ohio), not related to the current work. JFW also receives research funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (K08 1K08HS023313-01), the American College of Surgeons, and the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand, and serves as an unpaid consultant for 3M Health Information Systems.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The University of Michigan Institutional Review Board declared this study exempt from full review because it was a study of deidentified respondents.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. Data files from the National Poll on Healthy Aging are made available for download through the University of Michigan Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) accessible to faculty members, staff members, or students at a member institution at https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/web/NACDA/studies/37305/versions/V1%23. Data archived on an ongoing basis.

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