Prescription Opioid Use Among Adults With Chronic Pain: United States, 2019

August 5, 2021

Questions for Jim Dahlhamer, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Prescription Opioid Use Among Adults With Chronic Pain: United States, 2019.”

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Q: Why did you decide to do a report on prescription opioid use among U.S. adults with chronic pain?

JD: The latest estimate from NHIS reveals that just over 20% of U.S. adults experience chronic pain. Opioids are widely prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain in this country, even though questions remain as to their efficacy for such treatment. In the context of chronic pain management, some studies have shown prescription opioid use to be associated with an increased risk of misuse, addiction, morbidity, and mortality.  Yet, surprisingly, we found only a handful of national estimates of prescription opioid use among adults with chronic pain. With that in mind, our goal was to produce national estimates of prescription opioid use among adults with chronic pain, overall and by sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as age, sex, educational attainment, and poverty status. Our hope is that the report provides baseline estimates for continued surveillance of prescription opioid use among adults with chronic pain. These and future results may shed light on subgroups potentially at higher risk of negative outcomes associated with prescription opioid use.


Q: How does the data vary by different demographics?

JD: Prescription opioid use among adults with chronic pain varied across a range of sociodemographic and socioeconomic subgroups. We found that men and employed adults were less likely to have used a prescription opioid compared with women and not employed adults. Prescription opioid use increased with age among adults aged 18–64 and decreased among adults aged 65 and over. Adults from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, as measured by their educational attainment and family income as a percentage of the federal poverty level, were less likely to have used prescription opioids compared with those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Finally, adults with private health insurance coverage, Medicare, or Medicaid or other forms of public coverage were more likely to have used a prescription opioid than uninsured adults.


Q: Do you have trend data?

JD: NHIS included questions on pain and opioid use in 2020, so this analysis could be repeated to see how these estimates may have changed, especially in the context of COVID-19. However, opioid questions are not included on the 2021 NHIS and we don’t know at this time when they may be asked in the future.


Q: What is the take home message in this report?

JD: Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults with chronic pain used a prescription opioid in the past 3 months, with use varying across a range of sociodemographic and socioeconomic subgroups. Estimates in this report can be used as a starting point for continued monitoring of prescription opioid use among adults with chronic pain in the U.S., potentially shedding light on subgroups at greater risk of negative outcomes associated with opioid use.


Q: Do you have data on prescription opioid use by state?

JD: Data on prescription opioid use by state would be available through the NCHS Research Data Center. We have not looked at the data by state so we can’t speak to the number of states for which reliable estimates could be produced. It is likely that number would increase once 2020 data are available as a data user could then combine or pool 2019 and 2020 data.


Race and Hispanic-origin Disparities in Underlying Medical Conditions Associated With Severe COVID-19 Illness: U.S. Adults, 2015–2018

April 28, 2021

Figure_02192021A new NCHS report calculates the prevalence of selected conditions by race and Hispanic origin among U.S. adults (aged 20 and over) during 2015–2018.

Data were used from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Conditions included asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease based on self-report; and obesity, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, smoking, and hypertension based on physical measurements

Findings:

  • An estimated 180.3 million (76.2%) U.S. adults had at least one condition during 2015–2018.
  • Approximately 86.4% of non-Hispanic black adults had at least one condition, 58.5% had at least two conditions, and 29% had at least three conditions; these prevalence estimates were significantly higher than among other race and Hispanic-origin groups.
  • Compared with non-Hispanic white adults, Hispanic adults had higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
  • Non-Hispanic Asian adults had lower rates of at least one condition, but higher rates of diabetes compared with non-Hispanic white adults.
  • Non-Hispanic black women were more likely to have multiple conditions, obesity, severe obesity, diabetes, and hypertension compared with non-Hispanic white women.
  • Non-Hispanic black men were more likely to have one or more conditions and hypertension compared with non-Hispanic white men.
  • Hispanic men were more likely to have diabetes compared with non-Hispanic white men.

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 18 Years or Older Who Did Not Take Their Medication as Prescribed or Asked for Lower-Cost Medication to Save Money Among Those Prescribed Medication in the Past 12 Months by Number of Chronic Conditions

November 1, 2019

In 2018, among adults aged 18 years or older who were prescribed medication in the past 12 months, the percentage who did not take their medication as prescribed to save money increased with the number of reported chronic conditions, from 6.2% with no chronic conditions to 9.1% with 1–2 chronic conditions and 14.0% with more than 3 chronic conditions.

The percentage who asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication also increased with the number of reported chronic conditions from 15.1% among those with no chronic conditions to 18.4% among those with 1–2 chronic conditions and 27.4% among those with more than 3 chronic conditions.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2018 data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6843a6.htm


Stat of the Day – October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017


QuickStats: Number of Deaths from 10 Leading Causes by Sex — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2015

April 24, 2017

In 2015, a total of 1,339,226 deaths among females and 1,373,404 deaths among males occurred.

Heart disease and cancer were the top two causes of death for both females and males; other leading causes varied in rank by sex.

The 10 leading causes of death accounted for approximately three-quarters of all deaths.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6615a8.htm


QuickStats: Age-Adjusted Percentage of Adults Aged 65 Years or Older by Number of 10 Selected Diagnosed Chronic Conditions and Poverty Status

February 27, 2017

For the period 2013–2015, 13% of adults aged 65 years or older reported having none of 10 selected diagnosed chronic conditions; 25% had one, 46% had two or three, and 16% had four or more of the conditions.

No differences by poverty status were observed among those who reported having two or three conditions, but those in the lowest income group (100% or less of the poverty threshold) were less likely to have none or only one of the chronic conditions compared with those in the highest income group (400% or more of the poverty threshold).

Those in the lowest income group also were more likely to have four or more conditions when compared with those in the highest income group (21% compared with 12%).

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6607a6.htm


Depression in the United States

January 20, 2010

Depression is a common and debilitating illness. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is characterized by changes in mood, self-attitude, cognitive functioning, sleep, appetite, and energy level. Here’s some facts about depression in the U.S. you may not know:

  • More than 1 in 20 Americans age 12 and over have depression.
  • More than 1 in 7 poor Americans have depression.
  • Rates of depression were higher in 40-59 year olds, women, and non-Hispanic black persons than in other demographic groups (see the chart below).

For more information, please visit the NCHS FastStats page on depression at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm, or visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db07.pdf.


Births–Using the NCHS Vital Stats Tool

April 8, 2009

 

NCHS birth tables with a variety of variables for selection are available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/vitalstats/VitalStatsbirths.htm.

By selecting the national or subnational (i.e., state and some county) levels, you can find specific statistics for national, state, and some county birth rates, fertility rates, method of delivery (vaginal or cesarean), length of pregnancy, birthweight, characteristics of the mother (i.e., age, race, marital status, education), prenatal care, and risk factors (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, and smoking). For journalists who need assistance, feel free to contact the NCHS press office.


Report card for Nation’s health focuses on young adults aged 18-29

February 18, 2009
Young adults in the United States aged 18-29 face a number of health challenges, including increases in obesity, high injury rates, and a lack of insurance coverage compared to other adults, according to the latest report on the nation’s health from NCHS.
  • Obesity rates have tripled among young adults in the past three decades, rising from 8 percent in 1971-74 to 24 percent in 2005-06.
  • In 2006, 29 percent of young men were current cigarette smokers compared to 21 percent of young adult women.  
  • In 2005, unintentional injuries (‘‘accidents’’), homicide, and suicide accounted for 70 percent of deaths among young adults 18–29 years of age. Three-quarters of the 47,000 deaths in this age group occurred among young men. 
  • In 2006, young adults aged 20–24 were more likely to be uninsured (34 percent) than those aged 18–19 (21 percent) and those aged 25–29 (29 percent). 

    For more visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus08.pdf.


A brief look at asthma

November 5, 2008

Two weeks ago, NCHS released a report concerning the prevalence of food allergies in children. In this report, the authors reported that “children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared with children without food allergies.” According to the report, about 3 million children have food allergies. However, statistics show that asthma affects almost 7 million children, and asthma rates more than doubled between the 1980s and 1990s. The cause of the condition, like food allergies, is still relatively uknown (Advance Data 381).

For more Asthma statistics, click here.