Signs America’s Prescription Opioid Epidemic Might Finally Be Waning

Here’s some heartening news on the opioid painkillers front: Abuse of the prescription medicines in the United States fell by more than one-quarter between 2007 and 2018.

“Prior research has shown slight reductions in abuse rates, but our analysis shows we’re tracking statistically significant year-to-year declines in abuse, indicating that the decrease is not an anomaly and truly represents a trend in falling prescription drug abuse levels,” said study author Mario Moric, a biostatistician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

He and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual survey of about 70,000 Americans aged 12 and older who are asked about their use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

For the study, prescription opioid abuse was defined as use without the consent of a physician.

The percentage of survey respondents who said they’d abused prescription opioids in the previous year fell from 4.9% in 2007 to 3.7% in 2018, a 26% decrease.

There were significant declines in prescription opioid abuse from 2012 to 2018, with the exception of 2015, when higher numbers were reported due to a survey redesign introduced that year, the researchers said.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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