Opioid Use and Social Determinants of Health


According to a 2017 article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, “the 16 percent of the population that has a mental health disorder receive over half of all opioids prescribed in the US.” Now layer on top of that the impact of social determinants of health, and we find many individuals facing extreme emotional, physical, financial, social, and other challenges. Social determinants of health are the conditions that people are born into, live, work, and play in, and that impact their quality of life. The US Department of Health and Human Services’ HealthyPeople2020 initiative frames the evidence and recommendations around social determinants of health on five areas: economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment. Each of these areas impacts risk for opioid use/abuse.

While data from prescriptions is generally used to track opioid use and risk, new software using artificial intelligence and machine learning is trying to use social determinants of health to track risk of opioid abuse. Mining of electronic health records is also a method for tracking and predicting opioid use. Finally, improving access to physician care and community resources, and monitoring prescription use through patient-centered medical homes is a pathway toward providing individuals and families the support they need to combat mental, emotional, and physical pain.

Socio-economic, geographic, and other barriers can make it challenging for families to prevent the dangers of opioid addiction, yet the public health community is working to change that. CSIP and partners provide education and outreach resources, as well as tools to safely purchase needed medications online. 


About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)

The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health.  CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.