Opioid Abuse a Public Health Issue
Written by Editor   
Friday, November 27, 2015 09:02 AM

Adults in the United States view the problem of prescription opioid use and abuse mainly as a public health problem rather than a law enforcement issue and are fully supportive of a wide range of policies aimed at controlling the epidemic, new research shows.

Investigators fielded a web-based public opinion survey from January 31 to February 28, 2014, among a national sample of 1111 US adults to examine views about the abuse of opioids prescribed to relieve pain.

Just over half the sample reported ever having had pain serious enough to go to the doctor for treatment, and of these, nearly 80% were offered opioid pain relievers.”  Fewer than half, 45%, of respondents reported that their physician also offered them a nonmedication pain management alternative at the time they were offered an opioid.

Only half of the respondents indicated that their physician had informed them about the risk for addiction when offering them an opioid medication.

Fewer than 10% of respondents reported taking opioid pain medications for "the feeling it gave, not to treat pain" or for "longer than originally prescribed."

Fewer than 3% of respondents admitted that they had or have had a problem with opioid pill abuse, although about one third said they knew a family member or a close friend who did have a problem with abuse.

One quarter reported using them within the last year, and 70% reported using them at some point in their lifetime.

17% of the sample admitted that they had used prescription opioids that had not been prescribed to them.

Source:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852867