Prescription drugs with potential for misuse: Protocol for a multi-indicator analysis of supply, detection and the associated health burden in Ireland between 2010 and 2020
Cousins, G., Durand, L., O'Kane, A., Tierney, J., Maguire, R., Stokes, S., ... & Keenan, E.
Introduction There is an increasing concern about the misuse of prescription drugs. Misuse refers to the intentional repurposing of prescribed drugs and/or the use of illicitly sourced prescription drugs, which may be counterfeit or contaminated. Drugs with the greatest potential for misuse are prescription opioids, gabapentinoids, benzodiazepines, Z-drugs and stimulants. Objective The aim of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the supply, patterns of use and health burden associated with prescription drugs with potential for misuse (PDPM) in Ireland between 2010 and 2020. Three inter-related studies will be carried out. The first study will describe trends in supply of PDPM using law enforcement drug seizures data and national prescription records from national community and prison settings. The second study aims to estimate trends in the detection of PDPM across multiple early warning systems using national forensic toxicology data. The third study aims to quantify the health burden associated with PDPM nationally, using epidemiological indicators of drug-poisoning deaths, non-fatal intentional drug overdose presentations to hospitals and drug treatment demand. Methods and analysis A retrospective observational study design, with repeated cross-sectional analyses, using negative binomial regression models or, where appropriate, joinpoint regression.