Polysubstance use among US women of reproductive age who use opioids for nonmedical reasons

Marian Jarlenski, Colleen L. Barry, Sarah Gollust, Amy J. Graves, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Katy Kozhimannil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Objectives.To determine the prevalence and patterns of polysubstance use among US reproductive-aged women who use opioids for nonmedical purposes. Methods. We used the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (2005-2014) data on female respondents aged 18 to 44 years reporting nonmedical opioid use in the past 30 days (unweighted n = 4498). We categorized patterns of polysubstance use in the past 30 days, including cigarettes, binge drinking, and other legal and illicit substances and reported prevalence adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment. Results. Of all women with nonmedical opioid use, 11% reported only opioid use. Polysubstance use was highest in non-Hispanic White women and women with lower educational attainment. The most frequently used other substances among women using opioids nonmedically were cigarettes (56.2% smoked > 5 cigarettes per day), binge drinking (49.7%), and marijuana (32.4%). Polysubstance use was similarly prevalent among pregnant women with nonmedical opioid use. Conclusions. Polysubstance use is highly prevalent among US reproductive-aged women reporting nonmedical opioid use. Public Health Implications. Interventions are needed that address concurrent use of multiple substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1310
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


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