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Kentuckians' Views on Prescription Drug Misuse

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New poll data from the Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) reveal more than half of Kentucky adults (54%) have been prescribed opioid pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet or codeine, in the past five years.  Additionally, one in three Kentucky adults (33%) told researchers they have friends or family members who have experienced problems as a result of abusing prescription pain relievers.  

“While these types of medications are important for controlling pain in patients who need them, opioids also carry the potential for abuse,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  “Our state ranks sixth in the nation for prescription pain reliever overdose deaths, and these data provide a window on how many Kentuckians are impacted – directly or indirectly – by prescription misuse.”   

One in fourteen (8%) of Kentucky adults acknowledged  using a pain reliever when not prescribed or for the feeling it caused.  Of the respondents who indicated they had misused prescription drugs, 13% were between the ages of 18 and 29 while 10% were between the age of 30 and 45.  Nearly half (49%) of Kentucky adults between the ages of 18 and 29 reported knowing friends or family members who have experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.

KHIP regional breakdowns include:

  • Nearly half (45%) of eastern Kentucky adults know someone who has experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.
  • Close to four in ten (37%) of adults in the Greater Lexington area adults know someone who has experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.
  • More than three in ten (32%) of adults living in northern Kentucky know someone who has experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.
  • Three in ten (31%) of adults in the Greater Louisville area know someone who has experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.
  • One in four (25%) of western Kentucky adults know someone who has experienced problems because of prescription drug misuse.

The KHIP was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.  The poll was conducted September 20-October 14, 2012, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.  A random sample of 1,680 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones.  The poll has a margin of error of ±2.5%.

For the complete Prescription Drug Misuse report, click here.