Nonmedical prescription opioid use (NPOU) is a major public health concern and few studies have described this phenomenon among victimized women involved in the criminal justice system.
This study will describe the relationship between victimization, psychological distress, health status and NPOU among the vulnerable population of victimized women on probation and parole.
A sample of 406 women on probation and parole responded to items assessing victimization history, self-reported health status, physical pain, psychological distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Multiple logistic regression analysis was utilized to differentiate NPOUs versus nonusers.
Overall, 169 (41.6%) women reported lifetime NPOU, and 20% reported use in the past year. Compared to women who did not report NPOU, NPOUs were more likely to be White, have poorer general health, and more severe psychological distress across nine symptom domains. In multiple logistic regression models, each year of age reduced the odds of NPOU by 4%; White women were twice as likely as women of other races to report NPOU; each unit increase in the measure for physical pain was associated with a 30% increase in the odds of NPOU; and participants who met diagnostic criteria for PTSD were 60% more likely to report NPOU compared to individuals who did not.
Victimized women on probation and parole report high rates of NPOU and comorbid mental and physical health problems. The criminal justice system should routinely screen for NPOU, as well as untreated or poorly managed physical pain and psychological distress, which may increase risk of NPOU.