Background. Due to the rising nonmedical use of opioid analgesics, methods are needed to quantify the associated health-related consequences. Methods. Using opioid analgesic intentional exposure reports from poison control centers from January 2003-June 2004, we calculated quarterly rates for 7 opioids at the 3-digit ZIP code level using population- and patient-based denominators. Results. Hydrocodone was the most widely prescribed opioid (maximum: 5,321,390 patients per quarter), with the largest intentional exposure caseload (range: 498-1,290), and the highest aggregate population-based rate (maximum of 13.61 cases per 1,000,000 individuals). Methadone had the highest aggregate patient-based rate (maximum 2.03 cases per 1,000 patients). Conclusion. Population- and patient-based rates are complementary tools that address different public health questions. Population-based rates describe the health-related burden of nonmedical opioid analgesic use on the community as a whole, while patient-based rates show this burden ("risk") in relation to the level of corresponding medicinal use ("benefit") within a given area.
- Drug abuse rates
- Intentional exposure
- Opioid analgesic abuse and morbidity
- Poison control centers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis