Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Vasileios Margaritis


Opioids are an extremely addictive class of medication used to treat pain; overprescribing practices and chronic misuse has led to an epidemic that continues to grow. The opioid epidemic not only has the potential to cause injury or even death but also has a large impact on the U.S. economy. Research regarding determinants of abuse are needed to improve safeguards for opioid abuse prevention. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if learning capabilities and/or learning medium preference are correlated with analgesic opioid abuse. The social-ecological model was used to evaluate the social levels of influence for abuse in order to limit abuse illness, injury, and economic burdens. The target population for this study was the active patient population of a large healthcare network in New York State that represents both rural and urban population densities. Secondary data from the Bassett Healthcare Network electronic health record was used to examine the association between the presence of analgesic opioid abuse and the results of a learning assessment; additional determinants that were examined included county of residence characteristics, population density, access to patient portals, and patient demographics. The results of this study revealed an association between learning assessments and analgesic opioid abuse. Furthermore, a significant relationship was identified between analgesic opioid abuse diagnosis and preferred learning methods, learning barriers, population density, county of residence, age, insurance status, and access to a patient portal. Identification of factors related to analgesic opioid abuse can be utilized by all levels of government to determine the direction of funding, enhance policy development, and further refine public health intervention works, and thus promote social change.