In 2014, nearly 20 000 deaths due to overdose of prescription opioids occurred in the United States.1 That same year, more than 10 million people in the United States reported using prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons, and close to 2 million people older than 12 years met diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids.2 This is the highest number of individuals considered to have opioid addiction since statistics began to be collected in the late 19th century.3 Four of 5 persons newly initiating heroin use now report starting with a prescription opioid, a near complete reversal since prior to 2000.4 Despite multiple, laudable efforts across the country aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic, there seems to be little relief in sight.
Olsen Y. The CDC Guideline on Opioid PrescribingRising to the Challenge. JAMA. 2016;315(15):1577-1579. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1910