The Particulars: The rate of opioid misuse among discharged ED patients who receive prescriptions for these drugs has not been well defined in previous studies. Little is known about how opioid misusers are different from those who do not misuse these drugs.

Data Breakdown: A survey of discharged ED patients who were prescribed opioids during their ED stay found that 29% reported misusing their prescription within 3 days. At 30 days, 36% reported misusing opioids. About 45% reported misusing these drugs at either 3 days or 30 days. Self-escalation of the dose was the most common type of misuse reported in the analysis. Misusers tended to be slightly older than non-misusers, on average. The authors observed no differences between groups with regard to gender, median income, or race.

Take Home Pearls: About one-half of patients prescribed an opioid during an ED visit report that they abuse these medications within 30 days of discharge. Demographic variables do not appear to differ between opioid misusers and those who do not misuse these drugs.