Misuse of prescription opioids appears to be on the decline, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a yearly survey of about 70,000 Americans who are asked about their use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
The survey found the percentage of those who had used prescription opioids without the consent of a physician declined from 4.9% in 2007 to 3.7% in 2018 — a 26% decrease, HealthDay reports. The findings were presented at the virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
“We believe the message of the dangers of opioid use without supervision of a medical professional is finally getting through and changing people’s mindset and behavior,” lead researcher Mario Moric said in a meeting news release.
“Prior research has shown slight reductions in abuse rates, but our analysis shows we’re tracking statistically significant year-to-year declines in abuse, indicating that the decrease is not an anomaly and truly represents a trend in falling prescription drug abuse levels,” he said.