The United States is in the midst of a deadly opioid epidemic. About 11.8 million Americans misused prescription opioids in 2016. About 42,249 died from an opioid overdose. Adults with disabilities are much more likely to report constant pain than others. Because of this, they are more likely to use and depend on prescription pain medication. The risk of herion use is higher in adults who use prescription opioids for other than pain relief. It is important to look at misuse of legal and illegal opioids at the same time.
This study looks at working-age adults (18-64) with and without disabilities. It compares the frequency of and treatment of opioid misuse.
Adults with disabilities are more likely to have misused prescription pain medicine (17.0% vs. 11.3%) or used heroin (4.4% vs. 1.8%) in their lifetime. About 8.8% of adults with disabilities said they currently misused opioids. This compares with 4.7% of adults without disabilities. Of those people who reported opioid misuse, 12.8% of adults with disabilities received substance abuse treatment. This is greater than for those without disabilities (8.6%).