How Opioids Made the Jump to Mainstream Use

Mark D. Sullivan and Jane C. Ballantyne

In no country other than the United States have prescription opioid misuse, abuse, and death rates reached epidemic proportions. These problems increased in parallel with increased prescribing for chronic pain. More and more pain conditions were being treated with opioids using higher and higher doses. Prescription opioid misuse was called out as an epidemic in 2012, but this was only the first wave of the current opioid epidemic in the United States.

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