DefinitionPercentage of adolescents 12 through 17 years of age who responded "Yes" on the [https://nsduhweb.rti.org/respweb/project_description.html National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)] to the question: "Have you ever, even once, used any other prescription pain reliever when it was not prescribed for you or that you took only for the experience or feeling it caused?"
NumeratorWeighted number of adolescents (ages 12-17) who responded "Yes" on the NSDUH to the question "Have you ever, even once, used any other prescription pain reliever when it was not prescribed for you or that you took only for the experience or feeling it caused?"
DenominatorWeighted number of adolescents (ages 12-17) with complete and valid responses on the NSDUH to the question on ever using prescription pain relievers that were not prescribed to the user or taken only for the experience or feeling it caused.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a nationally standardized survey that has been performed since 1971. The NSDUH is completed annually using a sample from the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population 12 years of age and older. In 1999, the sample design expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2002, the name of the survey was changed from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) to the NSDUH. Information on background and methodology of the NSDUH, managed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), can be found at: [https://nsduhweb.rti.org/respweb/project_description.html].
Recent data are predominantly from the 2-year averages of NSDUH surveys from Population Data - NSDUH at: [https://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh/reports?tab=33]. Historic data with maps and data downloads are available from the small area estimates website for state and national NSDUH surveys at: [http://pdas.samhsa.gov/saes/state].
NSDUH obtains information on 10 categories of illicit drugs: marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and methamphetamine, as well as the misuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Changes in 2015 in the measurement for 7 of the 10 illicit drug categories--hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine, and the misuse of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives--may have affected the comparability of the measurement of these illicit drugs.^1^
1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. [http://www.samhsa.gov/data/]. Accessed February 14, 2017.
Why Is This Important?Prescription drug abuse among adolescents continues to be a major public health concern. After alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, prescription drugs are the drugs most commonly abused by 12th graders.^2^ More than half of adolescents report gaining access to prescription drugs through a parent, friend, or relative who was originally prescribed the drugs.^3^ Adolescents who abuse prescription drugs are at an increased risk for abuse of other substances including cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and other types of illicit drugs.^4^[[br]]
2. The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2015: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. [http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2015.pdf]. Published February 2016. Accessed November 10, 2016.
3. Boyd CJ, McCabe SE, Teter CJ. Medical and nonmedical use of prescription pain medication by youth in a Detroit-area public school district. Drug Alcohol Depend 2006;81:37-45.
4. Kandel DB, Logan JA. Patterns of drug use from adolescence to young adulthood: I. Periods of risk for initiation, continued use, and discontinuation. Am J Public Health. 1984;74(7):660-666. doi:10.2105/AJPH.74.7.660. [http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.74.7.660] Accessed November 10, 2016.
Healthy People Objective: Reduce the past-year nonmedical use of prescription drugs: Pain relieversU.S. Target: Not applicable
How Are We Doing?From 2006-2007 to 2013-2014, there was a 42% decrease in the percentage of adolescents (12-17 years of age) who reported misusing prescription drugs. In 2006-2007, 7.8% of adolescents reported nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers compared to 4.5% in 2013-2014.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Alaska adolescents had a similar rate of prescription drug misuse when compared to the U.S. average for 2013-2014. Both Alaska and the U.S. showed decreasing trends in adolescent prescription drug misuse.
What Is Being Done?In February 2017, Governor Bill Walker declared a public health crisis in response to the dramatic increase in heroin and opioid abuse in Alaska.^5^ The disaster declaration established a statewide Overdose Response Program and allows for the distribution of Naloxone, a lifesaving drug that can reverse overdoses caused by opioids, including those caused by prescription opioids.^5^ The disaster declaration was accompanied by the signing of Administrative Order 283, which instructs all state departments to apply for federal funding for drug abuse prevention and treatment options, the elimination of illegally imported drugs into the state, assistance with a prescription drug monitoring program, and the development of resources to provide medical treatment to drug users.^5^ These will help to combat the problem of heroin and opioid abuse in Alaska through a three pronged approach: 1) Prevent dependence on opioid drugs, 2) Reduce addiction by recognition and treatment, and 3) Reverse the life-threatening effects of overdose.^6^
5. State of Alaska, Division of Public Health. Heroin and opioids in the Last Frontier. [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Director/Pages/heroin-opioids/default.aspx]. Accessed May 18, 2017.
6. State of Alaska, Office of the Governor. Safer Alaska: Building stronger communities. [https://gov.alaska.gov/administration-focus/safer-alaska/]. Published May 16, 2017. Accessed May 17, 2017.
Evidence-based PracticesThe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a website geared towards prescription drug misuse prevention and treatment. The latest in evidence-based practices focused on prescription drug abuse can be found at: [http://www.samhsa.gov/prescription-drug-misuse-abuse/samhsas-efforts].
SAMHSA maintains a website that collects the latest in substance abuse prevention evidence based practices. The link to the information can be at: [http://www.samhsa.gov/ebp-web-guide/substance-abuse-prevention].
Health Program InformationThe State of Alaska Epidemiologic Profile on Substance Use, Abuse and Dependency is available at: [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/injury/Documents/sa/SubstanceAbuseEpiProfile_2013.pdf]. This profile provides a more detailed report on the state of substance use and abuse in Alaska.
The State of Alaska also provides websites on opioid use through Health and Social Services. Please use the following links to access more information about the misuse of opioids: [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Director/Pages/heroin-opioids/default.aspx].