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Editorial
December 16, 2019

Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Subsequent Overdose

Author Affiliations
  • 1Grayken Center for Addiction, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. Published online December 16, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4885

Opioids are a cornerstone in the management of severe acute pain. Amid a national overdose crisis, however, opioid prescriptions for children, adolescents, and young adults have steadily decreased.1 This decrease is likely attributable to the emerging understanding that 5% to 7% of adolescents and young adults prescribed an opioid will subsequently develop long-term opioid use or an opioid use disorder2,3 and that prescription opioids, particularly when misused or combined with other sedatives, can precipitate overdose.4 Sorely missing from the existing literature on opioids and youths, however, is information on which opioids and prescribing patterns contribute to overdose.

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