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About 100 million Americans have chronic pain and some may be treated with opioid medications. Opioid medications include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and fentanyl, among others. These medications can help some people and harm others. In the United States, opioid medications are the second most common drug abused after marijuana. Opioid medication misuse is defined as use of an opioid medication different than the way in which it was prescribed (for example, in higher doses) or for reasons other than why it was prescribed (for example, to get high). An article published in the March 6, 2013, issue of JAMA discussed opioid misuse.
Alford DP, Livingston EH. Misuse of Opioid Medication. JAMA. 2013;309(19):2055. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4328
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