“You Never Know What You’re Getting”: Opioid Users’ Perceptions of Fentanyl in Southwest Pennsylvania

Katherine McLean, Shannon M. Monnat, Khary Rigg, Glenn E. Sterner, Ashton Verdery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Urban areas in the United States have experienced a dramatic surge in fentanyl overdose deaths since 2014, a trend affecting both larger and smaller metropolitan areas. Encompassing only 1.2 million residents, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, nevertheless saw 412 fentanyl-involved deaths in 2016, a number surpassed only by New York City and Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. Objectives: This article seeks to describe opioid users’ perceptions of fentanyl in Allegheny and three adjacent counties; it further considers how the drug’s emergence shapes some users’ market behaviors and consumption practices. Methods: This article reports on qualitative interview data (N = 30) collected as part of a larger, multi-phase, mixed methods study (N = 125) among individuals reporting past-year prescription opioid misuse or heroin use in four southwest Pennsylvania Counties. Results: Most interviewees reported past-year suspected exposure to fentanyl, and many reported suffering or seeing suspected fentanyl overdoses. Where roughly one-third reported strategies for avoiding fentanyl, a small group of interviewees identified advantages to fentanyl, while still acknowledging its associated risks. Conclusions/Importance: Given users’ diverse opinions around fentanyl, the distribution of fentanyl test strips may represent an effective response to the current crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-966
Number of pages12
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 12 2019

Fingerprint

Fentanyl
Opioid Analgesics
death
qualitative interview
small group
agglomeration area
urban area
medication
resident
drug
market
trend
Heroin
Prescriptions
Interviews

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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title = "“You Never Know What You’re Getting”: Opioid Users’ Perceptions of Fentanyl in Southwest Pennsylvania",
abstract = "Background: Urban areas in the United States have experienced a dramatic surge in fentanyl overdose deaths since 2014, a trend affecting both larger and smaller metropolitan areas. Encompassing only 1.2 million residents, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, nevertheless saw 412 fentanyl-involved deaths in 2016, a number surpassed only by New York City and Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. Objectives: This article seeks to describe opioid users’ perceptions of fentanyl in Allegheny and three adjacent counties; it further considers how the drug’s emergence shapes some users’ market behaviors and consumption practices. Methods: This article reports on qualitative interview data (N = 30) collected as part of a larger, multi-phase, mixed methods study (N = 125) among individuals reporting past-year prescription opioid misuse or heroin use in four southwest Pennsylvania Counties. Results: Most interviewees reported past-year suspected exposure to fentanyl, and many reported suffering or seeing suspected fentanyl overdoses. Where roughly one-third reported strategies for avoiding fentanyl, a small group of interviewees identified advantages to fentanyl, while still acknowledging its associated risks. Conclusions/Importance: Given users’ diverse opinions around fentanyl, the distribution of fentanyl test strips may represent an effective response to the current crisis.",
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“You Never Know What You’re Getting” : Opioid Users’ Perceptions of Fentanyl in Southwest Pennsylvania. / McLean, Katherine; Monnat, Shannon M.; Rigg, Khary; Sterner, Glenn E.; Verdery, Ashton.

In: Substance Use and Misuse, Vol. 54, No. 6, 12.05.2019, p. 955-966.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Opioid Users’ Perceptions of Fentanyl in Southwest Pennsylvania

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AU - Sterner, Glenn E.

AU - Verdery, Ashton

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