Gender and prescription opioid misuse in the emergency department

Esther K. Choo, Carole Douriez, Traci Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives To the best of the authors' knowledge, gender differences in nonmedical opioid presentations to the emergency department (ED) have not been studied. The objective was to explore gender differences in ED visits related to nonmedical prescription opioid use in a nationally representative sample.

Methods Data from the 2011 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) were analyzed to compare visit characteristics between women and men. Logistic regression models were developed to examine the association between gender and specific drug presentations and clinical outcomes.

Results There were an estimated 426,010 DAWN-defined visits involving prescription opioid use in 2011. The prevalence of drugs in opioid-involved visits was similar between women and men. Ingestion of another drug along with opioids was associated with increased odds of hospital admission for both women and men, and types of opioids ingested were similar between women and men. However, gender differences were noted in clinical outcomes, depending on the specific drug combination.

Conclusions Gender differences exist in ED presentations related to prescription opioids. Further research is needed to understand these differences and any implications for gender-specific emergency care and brief interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1498
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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