I am sick and tired of being told that if we docs had given our patients non narcotics for pain, there would not be an opioid epidemic.
a picture is worth a thousand words:''
the push to relieve pain, even if it mean using narcotics, started in 2000.
Some of those drugs resulted in addiction, but more were used, sometimes in high doses, and allowed people to live pain free.
A lot of the "natural and semi synthetic opioids", i.e. codiene, morphine, etc, are pain killers. Some were of course stolen or diverted/sold and caused overdoses by those not prescribed the medicine. Others caused overdoses to commit suicide, or because the person was mixing drugs or decided to take an extra dose either to relieve pain or (alas too common) to get high..., or (in the elderly) became weak or confused and the drug slowed their respiration enough to cause death. (i.e. accidental overdose).
But the real increase is in heroin or Fentanyl, both drugs bought and sold on the street.
notice the spike since 2010?
That isn't docs: that was street drugs. The drug dealers knew Marijuana was being legalized, so were switching their product. And since they already catered to folks who like to get high, guess what happened?