Opioid Overprescribing Is Not a Myth

From the beginning of the opioid crisis in the 1990s, when reports of addiction and overdoses involving OxyContin first surfaced from Appalachia and New England, spokespersons for the drug’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, insisted that problems were limited to drug abusers, not average patients. Prescribers and policymakers were told, misleadingly, that the development of addiction, even with long-term daily use, occurred in less than 1 percent of patients. By the early 2000s, when it became clear that opioid prescribing was soaring far beyond levels that could be clinically needed, and that rates of addiction and overdose death were rising in parallel, industry-funded opioid advocates continued to argue that addiction in patients was rare and that diversion from legitimate medical channels was the root of the problem. Policymakers were cautioned that efforts to reduce prescribing would unfairly penalize pain patients for the bad behavior of drug abusers.

These familiar arguments are repeated Continue reading “Opioid Overprescribing Is Not a Myth”