September 10, 2017
This resource originally appeared on UCSF.edu.
Prescription pain pills (opioids) such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have helped millions of people effectively manage chronic pain. But for some, opioids have become a complex, tangled web of misuse and abuse that has led to dramatic increases in addiction, overdose, hepatitis B and C infection, and potentially, HIV infection in the US.
Prescription opioids sold in the US more than doubled from 2001 to 2015, yet there has not been a decrease in the amount of pain reported. The amount of oxycodone and hydrocodone alone tripled from 2000 to 2015. Healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012—enough for every adult in the US.
The CDC recommends that prescription opioids should not be considered first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain.