Reducing Opioid Prescriptions Saves Lives But Also Leads to More Heroin Use and Deaths

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A new study finds that while reducing opioid prescriptions can save lives, it also can lead to increased heroin use and deaths, The New York Times reports.

Using a mathematical model that includes data about prescriptions, addictions and overdoses in the United States, researchers at Stanford University found in the short term, many policies limiting opioid prescriptions in order to save lives would lead people to start using heroin or fentanyl. Over five to 10 years, that would increase deaths, the researchers report in the American Journal of Public Health.

The study estimated that increasing the availability of naloxone would reduce the total number of predicted opioid deaths over the next 10 years by 4 percent. Combining increased access to naloxone with more needle exchange programs and addiction treatment could save more than twice the number of people than naloxone alone, they concluded.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Amie Goodin of the University of Florida, wrote, “Current policies to limit opioid prescriptions leave some pain patients high and dry, resulting in a new wave of unintended consequences for patients with untreated chronic pain.”

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.

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    richard pell, jr.

    March 13, 2019 at 5:17 PM

    How does taking away or drastically reducing “adequate legal opiods” help save lives when out of desperation many “once legal” opiod users will now have to resort to any other means such as heroin use? This is outrageous and considered cruel and unusual punishment! This will give the states who pass such ineffective laws a boat load more of heroin addicts who’d gladly break the law for effective pain relief! Who wouldn’t having little/no other choice? This new law passed is Utter NONSENSE and a way for the state to push the latest marajuana use craze for more tax revenue. Just speak the truth and not try to feed the “sheeple” more politically correct LIES!

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