The United States is experiencing a serious epidemic of opioid-related drug addiction that includes a 200% increase in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths from 2000 to 2014.1 In 2015, there were 52 404 drug overdose deaths in the United States with 33 091 (63.1%) involving an opioid.2 An important contributor to this epidemic is semisynthetic prescription opioid pain medications (eg, oxycodone and hydrocodone) that are frequently used for nonmedical purposes and are implicated in many opioid overdose deaths.1-3
Kyriacou DN. Opioid vs Nonopioid Acute Pain Management in the Emergency Department. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1655–1656. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16725
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