Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Lori Murphy


INTRODUCTION: In the past two decades, the U.S. has been combating the public health crisis of prescription opioids misuse among older adults. There is an increasing prevalence of older adult misuse and abuse of prescription opioids. However, through greater awareness of proper use and alternatives to prescription opioids, this trend can be reversed.

AIM: To develop a resource guide that will empower older adults to engage their health care providers as it pertains to prescription opioid use in the treatment of pain.

METHODS: A literature review of research articles, review of fact sheets, and interviews with three medical doctors in various fields of medicine was conducted.

RESULTS: A guide was created that included key statistics about older adults, the definition and identification of prescription opioids, reasons for and risks of addiction and abuse, key steps to avoid addiction and abuse, and available resources.

DISCUSSION: Research on the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids was limited and, in many cases, outdated. Furthermore, the information available needed to be made more accessible.

CONCLUSION: The creation of a resource guide containing critical information about opioids was feasible. The guide can serve as a key first step in prompting conversations with health care providers.