- Access to a family member’s opioids is associated with higher odds of an opioid overdose.
- Authors suggest educating patients about the risks family members face.
Why this matters
- 2 recent studies found that most people misusing opioids get their supply from people in their family.
- Most postsurgical patients report having leftover opioid pills.
- Prior dispensing to a family member was associated with higher odds of overdose: OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 2.59-3.23.
- Higher number of morphine milligram equivalents (MME) dispensed to family member(s) correlated with higher ORs (95% CIs):
- ≤50 MME/day: 2.71 (2.42-3.03).
- 50-89 MME/day: 7.80 (3.63-16.78).
- ≥90 MME/day: 15.08 (8.66-26.27).
- Higher odds and a dose-response effect were also found in children.
- Odds rose with more recent exposure.
- Case-control study of national commercial claims data, 2004-2015.
- Authors matched 2303 people affected by overdose to 9212 controls and examined associations with family members’ opioid prescriptions.
- Outcome: odds of opioid overdose resulting in emergency department (ED) visit or hospitalization vs in patients without family member to whom opioids were dispensed.
- Funding: Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
- Outcome comprised both prescription and street opioids and did not capture overdoses not presenting to ED.