Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Dr. of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Tyrone Borders, PhD

Committee Member

Heather Bush, PhD

Committee Member

Kathi Harp, PhD

Committee Member

Hefei Wen, PhD


Opioids have become a major public health concern in recent years with non-medical use of both prescription opioids and heroin on the rise. There have been increases in opioid related overdoses, accidental deaths, treatment admissions, and sales associated with the increased illicit use of opioids. The following capstone project uses the three paper model to explore some of the issues associated with this rising epidemic including prescription opioid policies enacted in recent years, the populations these policies impact, and potential effects they may have on drug use behavior, as well as additional factors that potentially influence opioid user behavior. Paper one explores prescription opioid policy and reviews the literature evaluating these policies. Paper two focuses on the non-medical prescription opioid using population and explores how the demographic and drug use characteristics of the population differ across time, specifically the past decade. Finally, paper three examines heroin use in subgroups of prescription opioid users, with the main focus on non-medical OxyContin users compared to other non-medical prescription opioid users across the past decade.

Included in

Public Health Commons