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NYU CDUHR researchers look at prescription opioid abuse among young adults in NYC
Date:7/31/2014

The prevalence of heroin use has been rising steadily in the U.S in recent years. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of individuals reporting past year heroin use almost doubled between 2007 (373,000) and 2012 (669,000). Emerging evidence suggests the increase may be linked to prescription opioid (PO) users who transition from oral and/or intranasal PO use to heroin use, with POs providing the entryway to regular opioid use, and ultimately, heroin injection. This drug-use trajectory appears to have become increasingly common over the past ten years; in one study, 77.4% of participants in a 2008-2010 cohort reported using POs nonmedically prior to initiating heroin use, as compared to 66.8% in the 2002-2004 cohort.

"Despite indications that young PO misusers are at high risk of acquiring HIV and/or HCV through injection and sexual risk behaviors associated with drug use, little research has explored the social pathways by which PO misuse may lead to a heightened risk of infection," said Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, PhD, principal investigator with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) and affiliated with the NYC-based National Development Research Institutes (NDRI).

The study, "Injection and Sexual HIV/HCV Risk Behaviors Associated with Nonmedical Use of Prescription Opioids Among Young Adults in New York City, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (JSAT) explores within a social context the drug-use and sexual experiences of young adult (ages 18-32) nonmedical PO users as they relate to risk for HIV and HCV transmission.

"Young adults who use POs non-medically have many characteristics that differentiate them from other groups of drug users (more likely to be young, white and middle class)" notes Dr. Mateu-Gelabert. "Disease prevention efforts on the local and national levels have been slow to target this group, thus they comprise a population that is c
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Contact: christopher james
christopher.james@nyu.edu
212-998-6876
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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