Long-term opioid prescription use increased threefold during a 16-year period between 1999 and 2014, according to a report published by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University.
Long-term use of opioids is defined as use for 90 days or longer and has been repeatedly linked to a greater risk of overdose and addiction. In the United States, the opioid epidemic is responsible for nearly 100 deaths per day from prescription opioids, including illegal forms such as heroin.
“What’s especially concerning is the jump in long-term prescription opioid use, since it’s linked to increased risks for all sorts of problems, including addiction and overdoses,” says study author Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School. “The study also found that long-term use was associated with heroin use as well as the concurrent use of benzodiazepines, a class of widely prescribed drugs that affect the central nervous system,” he says.
Long-term opioid prescription use jumps threefold over 16-year period, large-scale study suggests [press release]. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Updated September 7, 2017. Accessed September 15, 2017.