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Article Critique: Heterogeneity in Prescription Opioid Pain Reliever Misuse


The article I chose to critique was “Heterogeneity in Prescription Opioid Pain Reliever Misuse Across Age Groups: 2015–2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health” The article looked at age-explicit trends of medicinal opioid painkiller supply and reasons for abuse, as well as age-explicit and source-explicit relationships with opioid addiction, heroin usage, benzodiazepine abuse, and opioid addiction medication usage. Prescription opioid usage amongst older persons has gotten minimal attention, and the article’s background tries to explore why this is so. What the article is trying to do here is to illustrate that there may be significant age differences in the features of and reasons for prescription opiate usage, which has crucial inferences for avoiding diversion.

Summary paragraph

Three rounds of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health were utilized in this cross-sectional investigation. The participants were between the ages of 12 and 65 with a history of prescription opioid addiction. The primary indicators were prescribed pain medication usage, opioid addiction, heroin usage, benzodiazepine abuse, and opioid addiction therapy. Moreover, a quarter of all people who reported using medicinal opioids in the last year were above 50. Those younger than 50 were more likely to get information from friends and family, while those older than 50 were more likely to get it from a doctor or hospital. It was concluded that doctors are still a primary component of medicinal opioids being misused, especially by the elderly (Schuler et al., 2020). In addition to excellent non-opioid pain treatment techniques, current clinical activities are required to ensure good opioid prescription practices. The article holds that older and teenage patients must be screened for non-medical usage of prescription opioids as part of clinical programs. Treatment for opioid addiction should be made more widely available to people of all ages.

Assessment paragraph

The research identifies significant variance between age groups in the origin of abused medicinal opioids and the motivations for abuse in a recent national survey. The research offers compelling evidence that both age group and origin of abused opioids are the main determinants of opioid addiction, heroin usage, benzodiazepine abuse, and opioid addiction therapy. A reader reading the material for the first time and having no prior knowledge of opioid abuse would comprehend that there is the frequency of disclosing a medicinal supply and taking medicinal opioids to “help ease agony” rose over age brackets.

According to the paper, benzodiazepine usage in older persons may result from possibly improper prescribing, including conflicting opioid and benzodiazepine medications, that might represent poorly organized treatment across many physicians. The article is very useful because it demonstrates that the levels of lifelong heroin usage are more than those of previous-year heroin usage amongst people with previous-year opioid abuse, indicating that several people with lifelong heroin use proceed to abuse prescription opioids even after they stop using heroin. The article contains important information demonstrating that reduced rates of opioid addiction diagnosis among people misusing opioids acquired from a health and social supplier versus a contraband source could portray less intensity and the possibility of under-recognition of abuse and opioid-related concerns amongst people.


Generally, the article was useful in outlining a background on medicinal opioid pain reliever misuse across different age groups. It effectively explains to the readers the effects of the misuse of opioids. This can be more useful to adults and adolescents battling opioid addiction and those at risk of being victims of this addiction. What needs to be addressed are the clinical and legislative solutions needed to address the varying features of prescription opioid abuse across different age groups. To summarize, the article has comprehensively described prescription opioid abuse and how to mitigate the problem.


Schuler, M. S., Dick, A. W., & Stein, B. D. (2020). Heterogeneity in prescription opioid pain reliever misuse across age groups: 2015–2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Journal of General Internal Medicine35(3), 792-799.


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