Alternate routes of administration and risk for HIV among prescription opioid abusers

Hilary Surratt, Steven P. Kurtz, Theodore J. Cicero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Route of administration is an important contributor to the adverse health consequences of prescription medication abuse. The current study examines characteristics associated with non-oral routes of administration among a large sample of prescription opioid abusers and explores needlerelated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors as well. In the study, 791 opioid abusers completed a one-time structured interview, including complete histories of illicit and prescription drug abuse and route of drug administration. The most common method of pill use was oral (91%), followed by intranasal (53.1%), injection (23.8%), and smoking (14.5%). The youngest prescription opioid abusers, ages 18-24, displayed significantly higher odds of using alternate routes of administration and of reusing nonsterile needles for injection. HIV prevention programming should be developed for young prescription opioid injectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Hilary Surratt and Steven P. Kurtz are affiliated with Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Theodore J. Cicero is affiliated with Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Address correspondence to: Hilary Surratt, PhD, Professor, Nova Southeastern University, 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 430, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (E-mail: The authors thank Dr. James A. Inciardi, primary investigator of this study through 2009. This research is supported by PHS Grant Number R01DA021330 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


  • HIV
  • Prescription opioid abuse
  • Route of administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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