Prescription Opioid Misuse Motive Latent Classes: Outcomes from a Nationally Representative US Sample




Schepis, Ty S.
De Nadai, A. S.
Ford, J. A.
McCabe, Sean Esteban

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Cambridge University Press


Aims: Prescription opioid misuse (POM) contributes to a larger opioid crisis in the US and Canada, with over 17,000 US POM-related overdose deaths in 2017. Our aims were to 1) identify specific profiles of respondents based on POM motives using the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and 2) compare profile respondents on sociodemographics, substance use and mental and physical health outcomes. Methods: Analyses included 2017-18 NSDUH respondents with data on POM motives (n= 4,810). POM was defined as prescription opioid use in a way not intended by the prescriber, including use without a prescription, in larger amounts or more frequently. Nine POM motives for the most recent episode were assessed, including “to relieve physical pain” and “to get high”. Latent classes, based on POM motives, were estimated. Classes were compared on sociodemographics, substance use, physical and mental health outcomes. Results: Eight latent classes were identified (in order of prevalence): pain relief only, relax-pain relief, sleep-pain relief, multi-motive, high, experimenter, emotional coping, and dependent/ hooked. Compared to the pain relief only group, the high and multi-motive classes had higher odds of all substance use outcomes, with the dependent/hooked class having higher odds on all but one outcome. Six of the eight classes had higher odds of past-year mental health treatment and suicidal ideation than the pain relief only class. Conclusions: Screening for pain, pain conditions, problematic substance use and psychopathology are recommended in those with any POM. While those in the dependent/hooked, multi-motive, and emotional coping classes are most likely to have prescription opioid use disorder, screening for opioid use disorder symptoms in all individuals with POM is also warranted.



misuse, motive, substance use disorder, latent class analysis, prescription opiod, Psychology


Schepis, T. S., De Nadai, A. S., Ford, J. A., & McCabe, S. E. (2020). Prescription opioid misuse motive latent classes: Outcomes from a nationally representative US sample. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 29(e97).


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