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ABSTRACT: UUnderstanding the Etiology of Prescription Opioid Abuse Implications for Prevention and Treatment

Although studies on the initiation of substance abuse abound, the body of literature on prescription opioid abuse (POA) etiology is small. Little is known about why and how the onset of POA occurs, especially among high-risk populations. In this study we aimed to fill this important knowledge gap by exploring the POA initiation experiences of 90 prescription opioid abusers currently in treatment and their narrative accounts of the circumstances surrounding their POA onset. This research was conducted within a storyline framework, which operates on the premise that the path to drug abuse represents a biography or a process rather than a static condition. Audiotapes of in-depth interviews were transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed. Analyses revealed the presence of four trajectories leading to POA. This study adds to the limited research on POA etiology by not only illuminating the psychosocial factors that contribute to POA onset, but also by situating initiation experiences within broader life processes. The study findings provide crucial insights to policymakers and interventionists in identifying who is at risk for POA, and more important, when and how to intervene most efficaciously.

via Understanding the Etiology of Prescription Opioid Abuse.

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Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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