Prevalence of Prescription Pain Medication Use Among Adults: United States, 2015–2018

FROM THE AUTHOR

In 2015–2018, 10.7% of U.S. adults used one or more prescription pain medications in the past 30 days.  Prescription pain medication use was higher among women than men overall and within each age category. Use increased with age overall and among men and women. Prescription pain medication use was lowest among non-Hispanic Asian adults, and use among Hispanic adults was lower than among non-Hispanic white adults. This same pattern of prescription pain medication use was observed among both men and women.

Additionally, this report estimated the percentage of adults who used one or more opioid prescription pain medications (with or without use of non-opioid prescription pain medications) and the percentage who used one ore more non-opioid prescription pain medication (without use of prescription opioids).  In 2015–2018, 5.7% of U.S. adults used prescription opioids and 5.0% used non-opioid prescription pain medications (without prescription opioids) in the past 30 days. Use of one or more prescription opioids and use of non-opioid prescription pain medications (without prescription opioids) were higher among women than men, and increased with age, and were lowest among non-Hispanic Asian adults.  Use of one or more prescription opioids among Hispanic adults was lower than among non-Hispanic white adults.

From 2009–2010 to 2017–2018, there was no significant increase in use of prescription opioids, but use of non-opioid prescription pain medications (without prescription opioids) increased.

Source: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2015–2018.

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