High-Risk Obtainment of Prescription Drugs by Older Adults in New Jersey: The Role of Prescription Opioids

Sarah L. Gold, Kristen Gilmore Powell, Michael H. Eversman, N. Andrew Peterson, Suzanne Borys, Donald K. Hallcom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To explore the high-risk ways in which older adults obtain prescription opioids and to identify predictors of obtaining prescription opioids from high-risk sources, such as obtaining the same drug from multiple doctors, sharing drugs, and stealing prescription pads. Design: Logistic regression analyses of cross-sectional survey data from the New Jersey Older Adult Survey on Drug Use and Health, a representative random-sample survey. Participants: Adults aged 60 and older (N = 725). Measurements: Items such as obtaining prescriptions for the same drug from more than one doctor and stealing prescription drugs were measured to determine high-risk obtainment of prescription opioids. Results: Almost 15% of the sample used high-risk methods of obtaining prescription opioids. Adults who previously used a prescription opioid recreationally had three times the risk of high-risk obtainment of prescription opioids. Conclusion: These findings illustrate the importance of strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs to reduce high-risk use of prescription drugs in older adults by alerting doctors and pharmacists to potential prescription drug misuse and interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e67-e71
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • high-risk drug obtainment
  • older adults
  • opioids
  • prescription painkillers


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