Opioid Misuse Varies With Sexual Orientation

Prescription opioid misuse more likely for female respondents identifying as bisexual.
Prescription opioid misuse more likely for female respondents identifying as bisexual.

HealthDay News — Opioid misuse varies with sexual orientation, with increased misuse among female bisexuals, according to a study published online November 19 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Dustin T. Duncan, Sc.D., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues used data from adult participants in the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine whether sexual orientation is a risk factor for prescription opioid misuse and use disorder. 

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In multivariable analyses, the researchers found that bisexual individuals had 1.53 and 1.66 higher odds of reported past-year and past-month misuse, respectively, compared with those identifying as heterosexual. Female bisexuals remained at high risk in stratified analyses. Compared with being attracted only to the opposite sex, being attracted mostly to the opposite sex or being equally attracted to both sexes correlated with higher odds for past-year opioid misuse (adjusted odds ratios, 2.15 and 1.78, respectively). These associations were limited to women in stratified analyses.

"Proven prevention and treatment efforts for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine) can and should be offered more comprehensively to sexual minority individuals, especially bisexual females," the authors write.

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