Sexual orientation related to the misuse of opioids (Representative image) & nbsp | & nbspPhoto Credit: & nbspThinkstock
Washington DC: According to a recent study, sexual orientation has been identified as a risk factor in opioid abuse. Led by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine, the study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The results suggest that men and women who identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely to abuse opioids than those who identify as heterosexuals.
The study estimates that 5% of adults who identify themselves as heterosexual in the United States have abused opioids in the last year, while the number rises to 9% for individuals who identify as gays or lesbians and 1
The study is based on data from 42,802 people involved in the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Participants in the study were interviewed about sexual orientation and opioid abuse in the last year, as well as the use of opioids prescribed in recent months and in recent years. Improper use has been classified as use of the drug without a prescription, using it in larger amounts or for a longer period than the direct one or using a doctor's recommendation.
According to the researchers, previous studies have found that those who identify themselves as gay or bisexual are more likely to use drugs and experience addictive illnesses, such as alcoholism and the use of other drugs.
Among the main findings of the study, women identified as bisexuals were twice as likely to abuse opioids than people with other sexual orientation.
"Our study shows that adults with sexual minority status – especially women who identify themselves as bisexuals – are at greater risk for opioid abuse," said senior study author Joseph J. Palamar. . "With the opioid crisis intensifying at the national level, it is important to focus on preventing abuse among the highest risk groups".
Researchers believe the underlying cause of opioid abuse among bisexual women may be their need for a coping mechanism from stress and the stigma that arises from being not just a minority at the same time. Inside a largely heterosexual culture, but also within the lesbian and gay community. To address the growing problem of opioid abuse in these groups, researchers support the development of more educational programming to help prevent drug use and misuse.
"Primary care providers, educators and even parents should consider sexual orientation in evaluating those at risk for opiate abuse," said Dustin T. Duncan, lead author of the study. "Not only do we have to consider sexual orientation as a risk factor, but we must also monitor these groups more closely once they have been identified."