Is employment status in adults over 25 years old associated with nonmedical prescription opioid and stimulant use?

Alexander S. Perlmutter, Sarah C. Conner, Mirko Savone, June H. Kim, Luis E. Segura, Silvia S. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Nonmedical use of prescription opioid and stimulants (NMUPO and NMUPS, respectively) has declined in recent years, but remains an important public health problem. Evidence regarding their relationships with employment status remains unclear. We determined the relationship between employment status and NMUPO and NMUPS. Methods: We analyzed a cross-sectional, nationally representative, weighted sample of 58,486 adults, ages 26 years and older, using combined 2011–2013 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). We fit two crude and two adjusted multivariable logistic regression models to assess the relationship between our two different outcomes of interest: (1) past-year NMUPO and (2) past-year NMUPS, and our exposure of interest: employment status, categorized as (1) full time, (2) part time, (3) unemployed, and (4) not in the workforce. Our adjusted models featured the following covariates: sex, race, age, marital status, and psychological distress, and other nonmedical use. Results: Prevalence of NMUPO was higher than NMUPS (3.48 vs. 0.72%). Unemployed participants had the highest odds of NMUPO [aOR 1.45, 95% CI (1.15–1.82)], while those not in the workforce had the highest odds of NMUPS [aOR 1.71, 95% CI (1.22–2.37)]. Additionally, part-time and unemployed individuals had increased odds of NMUPS [aORs, 95% CI 1.59 (1.09–2.31) and 1.67 (1.11–2.37) respectively], while those not in the workforce had decreased odds of NMUPO [aOR 0.82, 95% CI (0.68–0.99)] relative to full-time participants. Conclusions: There is a need for adult prevention and deterrence programs that target nonmedical prescription drug use, especially among those unemployed or not in the workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Employment
  • Epidemiology
  • Nonmedical prescription drug use
  • Opioid
  • Stimulant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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