Prescription Opioid Abuse

Main Points

  • Emergency physicians see first-hand the devastating consequences of drug misuse and abuse.
  • More people in the United States die of drug overdose than motor vehicle crashes.
  • According to an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study (2015), the largest percentage drop in opioid-prescribing rates between 2007 and 2012 occurred in emergency medicine (-8.9%)
  • Emergency physicians typically prescribe only a few narcotic pills at a time — enough to last until a patient can see an outpatient medical provider.
  • Pain management remains one of the top reasons people legitimately seek emergency care. There is no objective test for pain.
Prescription Opioid Abuse Fact Sheet

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