The majority of men and women tested positive for oxycodone (68% and 65%, respectively) and morphine (89% each).
More women than men tested positive for amphetamines (4% vs. 1%, p<0.01), methamphetamine (11% vs. 4%, p<0.01) and phencyclidine (8% vs. 4%, p=0.02). More men than women tested positive for methadone (11% vs. 6%, p=0.05) and marijuana (22% vs. 15%, p=0.03).
Craving for opioids was significantly higher among women (p<0.01).
Men evidenced higher alcohol (p<0.01) and legal (p=0.04) ASI composite scores, whereas women had higher drug (p<0.01), employment (p<0.01), family (p<0.01), medical (p<0.01), and psychiatric (p<0.01) ASI composite scores. Women endorsed significantly more current and past medical problems.
Rates of lifetime and past-year non-medical use of prescription opiates were 13.6% and 5.1%, respectively. Significantly more men than women endorsed lifetime (15.9% vs. 11.2%) and past-year use (5.9% vs. 4.2%; ps<0.0001). Among past-year users, 13.2% met criteria for current prescription opiate abuse or dependence, and this did not differ significantly by gender.
Polysubstance use and treatment underutilization were common among both men and women, however significantly fewer women than men had received alcohol or drug abuse treatment (p=0.001).
Men were more likely than women to obtain prescription opioids for free from family or friends, and were more likely to purchase them from a dealer (ps<.01). Gender-specific predictors of use as compared to abuse/dependence were also observed.
Despite the fact that important gender differences in drug and alcohol use have been previously reported, little research to date has focused on gender differences with regard to nonmedical prescription opioid use. This study preliminarily examined the presenting characteristics and correlates (e.g., age of onset, route of administration, motives for using, and method of introduction) of men and women with prescription opioid dependence. Participants were 24 (12 men and 12 women) non-treatment seeking individuals at least 18 years of age with current (i.e., past 12 months) prescription opioid dependence who participated in an in-depth interview. The average age of onset of prescription opioid use was 22.2 years (SD=8.5). In comparison to men, women were approximately six years older when they initiated prescription opioid use, but were only three years older when they began to use prescription opioids regularly (i.e., weekly), suggesting an accelerated course of disease progression among women. Over half of the sample (61.5%) endorsed chewing and almost half (45.8%) endorsed crushing and snorting prescription opioids. Men were significantly more likely than women to crush and snort prescription opioids (75.0% vs. 16.7%; p=0.01).
Women were significantly more likely than men to be motivated to use prescription opioids in order to cope with interpersonal stress, and to use them first thing in the morning (ps=0.04). Concomitant alcohol and other drug use were common among both men and women. The findings highlight clinically relevant gender differences and may help enhance the design of gender-sensitive screening and treatment interventions for prescription opioids.
29,906 assessments from 220 treatment centers were included, of which 12.8% (N=3821) reported past month prescription opioid abuse. Women were more likely than men to report use of any prescription opioid (29.8% females vs. 21.1% males, p<0.001) and abuse of any prescription opioid (15.4% females vs. 11.1% males, p<0.001) in the past month. Route of administration and source of prescription opioids displayed gender-specific tendencies.
Women-specific correlates of recent prescription opioid abuse were problem drinking, age <54, inhalant use, residence outside of West US Census region, and history of drug overdose. Men-specific correlates were age <34, currently living with their children, residence in the South and Midwest, hallucinogen use, and recent depression.
Women prescription opioid abusers were less likely to report a pain problem although they were more likely to report medical problems than women who abused other drugs.