Bowling Green State University

Contact Information

FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary


Project Title: The Impact of the Opioid Crisis on Older Adults in Northwest Ohio: Community Conversations Creating Community Action

Brief Description of Proposed Research: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2017) reported that opioid death rates increased the greatest in adults aged 55-64 (4.2 deaths per 100,000 in 1999 to 21.8 per 100,000 in 2015), and adults between the ages of 45-54 had the highest death rate from drug overdoses (30 deaths per 100,000). Adults aged 50+ are the greatest consumers of prescription drugs and due to their increased rates of chronic pain, they are three times more likely to be prescribed opiates. Between 2002 and 2016, prescription opioid misuse increased 66% for those aged 50-64 and more than doubled for those 65+. While there has been a national emphasis to address the opioid crisis, prevention education strategies, substance use treatment programs, and drug media campaigns have not targeted or been tailored for older adults. The proposed Participatory Action Research (PAR) will take place in Northwest Ohio, a ten-county area which is experiencing a social crisis, namely increasing opioid use, misuse, abuse, dependency, and overdose deaths among older adults. The Optimal Aging Institute at Bowling Green State University will provide the leadership in collaboration with ProMedica Health System (a non-profit healthcare organization that actively engages the community to improve health and well-being by addressing social determinants of health) to link existing community-based opioid coalitions (i.e., Wood County Opiate Task Force, Northwest Ohio Opioid Planning Task Force) and agencies/organizations that provide services for older adults (i.e., Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio, Wood County Committee on Aging) with the lived experiences of older adults as co-researchers and community informants to address the impact of the opioid crisis on older adults. Collectively, a comprehensive community-based strategy to address opioid use, misuse, dependency, and overdose deaths among older adults will be developed through community conversations.

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