Two new studies have found that the rate of prescription opioid overdose in the United States is on the decline, but heroin use and abuse is surging in its place. Researchers looking at trends in opioid abuse and death in the United States found that prescription opioid analgesic use increased substantially from 2002 through 2010, but rates have flattened or decreased from 2011 through 2013. Experts attribute the rise not simply to the availability of pure, inexpensive heroin as compared to newer, abuse deterrent opioids (which were also recently re-scheduled under federal law), but also to a lack of guidance in the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies for opioids. The exclusion of non–long-acting opioids from the REMS and the lack of an evidence-based framework for designing REMS and monitoring its effectiveness are two major problems.
Read more from Pain Medicine News here.