The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Between 1999 and 2010, prescription opioid–related overdose deaths increased substantially in parallel with increased prescribing of opioids.1 In 2015, opioid-involved drug overdoses accounted for 33 091 deaths, approximately half involving prescription opioids.2 Additionally, an estimated 2 million individuals in the United States have opioid use disorder (addiction) associated with prescription opioids, accounting for an estimated $78.5 billion in economic costs annually.3 Proven strategies are available to manage chronic pain effectively without opioids, and changing prescribing practices is an important step in addressing the opioid overdose epidemic and its adverse effects on US communities.
Anne Schuchat, Debra Houry, Gery P. Guy. New Data on Opioid Use and Prescribing in the United States. JAMA. 2017;318(5):425–426. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8913