Objectives: To examine rates and correlates of dual cannabis and prescription pain reliever (PPNR) use and misuse among U.S. individuals aged 50+ who reported past-year cannabis use.
Methods: Using the 2015-2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, we examined cannabis nonuse/use and PPNR nonuse/use/misuse among all 35,229 respondents, and then focused on 2,632 past-year cannabis users to examine the risk of PPNR use but no misuse and the risk of PPNR misuse, compared to PPNR nonuse.
Results: More than one-half of older cannabis users used PPNR in the past year. Multinomial logistic regression results show that the risks of PPNR use/no misuse and PPNR misuse were higher among those who had more chronic medical conditions and a major depressive episode. The risk of PPNR use/no misuse was also associated with high frequency and medical cannabis use. The risk of PPNR misuse was also associated with younger cannabis initiation age and cannabis and other illicit drug use disorders.
Conclusions: Correlates of dual cannabis and PPNR use/misuse among older adults are poor physical and mental health problems and problematic cannabis use.
Clinical Implications: Older adults with cannabis and PPNR misuse need access to evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment when needed.