Prescription opioid misuse (POM) has become a critical public health issue in the United States (US), with veteran and military population being especially vulnerable to POM. However, limited behavioral interventions have been developed for veterans and military to reduce POM risk due to the lack of an adequate understanding of POM andrelated factors among veterans and military. The current study aims to review and synthesize empirical findings regarding POM and its correlates among US veterans and military.
We conducted a systematic review of 17 empirical studies (16 quantitative studies and one qualitative study) from 1980 to 2019 that reported POM statistics (e.g., prevalence) and examined correlates of POM in veterans and military.
The prevalence of POM in veterans and military ranged from 6.9%-77.9% varying by study samples, individual POM behaviors, and recalled time periods. Several factors were identified to be associated with POM in veterans and military. These factors included socio-demographic factors (age, race/ethnicity, education, relationship status, and military status), pain-related factors (pain symptoms, severity, interference, and cognitions), other physical factors (e.g., common illness), opioid-medication-related factors (receipt of opioid medications and quantity of opioid medications), behavioral factors (substance use disorder, alcohol use, cigarette use, and other prescription drug use), and psychological factors (psychiatric symptoms and cognitive factors).
POM was prevalent in veterans and military and could be potentially influenced by multiple psycho-behavioral factors. Future research guided by a theoretical framework is warranted to examine psycho-behavioral influences on POM and their mechanisms and to inform effective psychosocial POM interventions in veterans and military.
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