Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

First Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Second Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Third Committee Member

Michelle Chino

Fourth Committee Member

Takashi Yamashita

Number of Pages



Prescription drug abuse has been the fastest growing drug problem in the United States in recent years, and is the second most commonly abused category of illegal and illicit drugs, after marijuana (SAMHSA, 2013; Carnevale, 2011). Reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with prescription drug abuse in challenging because multiple factors contribute to the problem. Prescribing behaviors and the lack of education among providers and pharmacists along with inadequate counseling and

monitoring of patients prescribed pain medication are important factors (Machikanti, 2007; Okie, 2010). Patients' misuse or abuse, diversion or the sharing or sell of pills, and doctor shopping are also contribute to the problem (Okie, 2010). Where they exist, prescription drug monitoring programs are underfunded and ineffective, and there are no established national prescription monitoring programs (Manchikanti, 2007) or substance

abuse treatment guidelines for prescription pain relievers. Additionally, nonmedical use, including diversion, is deviant behavior driven by a range of physical, mental and social health problems. Gilson and Kreis suggest that the problem can be effectively mitigated by the development of novel opioid formulations that reduce non medical use, improvements in prescription drug monitoring programs and a better, more accurate understanding of the problem (Gilson and Kreis, 2009). Implementing strategies that target populations at greatest risk requires collaboration among local, state, federal, tribal health entities along with community partners. Further defining populations at greatest risk is critical for development and implementation of effective interventions (JAMA, 2012).

This study aims to contribute to the understanding of the problem by describing the characteristics of persons who experienced an unintentional drug poisoning admission Clark County, Nevada between 2009 and 2013. This research will help to better define the population that might benefit from targeted risk reduction education and monitoring to prevent continued drug seeking and use behaviors that may lead to continued morbidity and eventual mortality.


Accidental poisoning; Drugs; Drugs – Overdose; Injury; Medication abuse; Medication abuse – Prevention; Poisoning; Prescription; Unintentional


Chemicals and Drugs | Public Health

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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