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Study: Initial opioid prescription patterns and the risk of ongoing use and adverse outcomes

opioid pain medication

Published March 2021

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33300138/

This is a very large study with 2,021,371 participants. It looked at patients who were prescribed an opioid for pain and examined how many people continued to take them long-term (addiction) (3.17%) and how many experienced an opioid overdose (0.055%). It’s clear that persistent use, which they have used to define “addiction” is rare at 3.17%, and that opioid overdose is a vanishingly rare event in pain patients at 0.055%. It is clear that the risk of overdose and addiction is vastly inflated and that prescribing opioids for chronic pain is safe and only rarely leads to adverse events such as addiction and overdose.

From the study: “Among the 2,021,371 individuals meeting our inclusion criteria, 1121 (or 0.055%) experienced an opioid overdose within 1 year and 64,013 (3.17%) continued treatment for at least 1 year. “

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