Khrisha Alphonsus


Dr. Khrisha Alphonsus is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research interest is in the epidemiology of mental health and addiction among vulnerable populations and examining the psychological factors associated with chronic and infectious disease. She uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods to carry out her projects. Her current research is on assessing the sociodemographic factors associated with prescription drug misuse among older adults in Saskatchewan.

Node Funded Project (December 2020)

Title: Sociodemographic factors associated with prescription drug misuse among older adults in Saskatchewan

Principal Investigator: Khrisha Alphonsus, University of Saskatchewan


Dr. Barb Fornssler, Dr. Carl D’Arcy, Dr. Cindy Feng


One in four older adults have reported having used psychoactive medications and prescription drugs such as pain relievers, stimulants and sedatives are used excessively among older adults. Lifestyle changes, including early retirement and change in health status are some of the reasons behind mental health problems. Based on the Canadian Institute for Health Information data from 2017, individuals aged 45 years and older had the highest rate of hospitalization due to opioid poisoning. The main objective of this CRISM study are to determine the sociodemographic factors associated with prescription drug misuse and to identify accompanying needs and barriers for people over the age of 50 years affected by addiction in Saskatchewan.


Prescription drug misuse among adults in Canada: a scoping review: 840 abstracts were reviewed, and 13 articles were included in the scoping review. Key findings are as follows: (1) misuse of prescription drugs is more prevalent among users who used other substances, (2) prescription misuse is positively associated with cannabis use, (3) adults exposed to prescription drugs at hospitals are likely to misuse prescription drugs in the future, (4) prescription drug misuse negatively influences the continuation of medication-assisted treatment, (5) reasons for non-medical prescription drug use include sleep, pain, stress, and nausea. Prescription drug misuse is a problem among adults, but little attention is paid to older adults. To better understand this problem and create age-specific interventions more research in the area of prescription drug misuse among older adults and motives for misuse needs to be thoroughly studied.

Online survey of prescription drug use in adults 60 years and older: 19 out of 20 older adults misuse prescription drugs in Saskatchewan and 49% misuse more than one drug at a time. See the infographic for more details.



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