Methods: This study relied on data from Wave 1 participants (n = 45,961) of the national PATH study, aged 12-90. Using weighted proportions, participants were 52% female and were 65% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian, 1% Other/Multiracial, 16% Hispanic, and 2% American Indian/Alaska Native. Recent pain symptom severity, which was only assessed for those ages 18+, was reported as none for 46%, moderate for 45%, and high for 11%.
Results: An intercept-only weighted TVEM showed a smooth trend in NMPD use rates across age, with a rapid increase in past-year NMPD use for individuals ages 12-20, and a steady rate for individuals ages 20 through late adulthood. Significant sex differences existed during ages 12-18, with higher rates among males, but differences did not exist among adults. This smooth age trend is recovered when examining Whites only, but substantial racial/ethnic differences exist across ages. American Indian/Alaskan Natives had significantly higher rates of use compared to all other groups in ages 21-23 and ages 55+. Black adolescents used at higher rates compared to Whites through age 16, but at lower rates for those ages 23-33. Individuals reporting no to moderate pain levels used NMPD at consistent, low rates across all ages. Those reporting high levels of pain show a rapid increase of use with age, from 3% at age 18 to nearly 7% at age 27; the rate decreased slowly with older ages.
Conclusions: This study allows us to visualize age trends in use and differences across individual and sociodemographic characteristics. Urbanicity and geographic region will be examined. Future analyses may help to deepen our understanding of the risk factors associated with NMPD use.