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Master's Culminating Experience

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Introduction: Substance misuse is a significant problem nationally, where Ohio ranks within the top five states contributing to this burden. Montgomery County experiences the most deaths in the state. While illicit fentanyl and analogs are increasingly responsible for overdose-related deaths, prescription misuse is a significant risk factor for progression to illicit substance use. Methods: Survey data from a pilot medication safety campaign utilizing medication disposal pouches were evaluated by descriptive analysis and qualitative analysis. Survey findings were compared to data of all unintentional overdose-related deaths in Montgomery County from January to October, 2017. Secondary analysis of death data was performed to highlight trends in substance use in Montgomery County. Results: 156 surveys were received. Most respondents regard the medication disposal pouches positively and found them easy to use (60.8% and 98.5%). Those who provided comment indicated that at-home methods of disposal were preferred to community-based methods (66.7%). The largest clustering of medication disposal bags were in Huber Heights (17.9%), while the majority of overdose deaths were occurring in Dayton metropolitan area (49.7%). The majority of those who died were male and likely in their 40s (68.7% and 29.9%). 83.6% of those who died were White. Most deaths included illicit fentanyl (62.6%), less than a quarter included prescription opioid (23.1%), and even less included heroin (8.2%). Gender differences were found regarding heroin, alcohol and benzodiazepines. Conclusion: These findings may highlight areas needing modification for medication safety as it relates to the larger context of substance misuse and subsequent death.

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