Evidence Review Finds Link between Nonmedical Opioid Use and Heroin Use

January 22, 2016 | Physician Practice News

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​A review article in the January 14, 2016, New England Journal of Medicine highlighted the association between prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction, noting that nonmedical use of opioids is a "strong risk factor" for heroin use. Studies analyzed in the review found that 50% to 77% of heroin users reported they had abused prescription opioids before turning to heroin. Interventions focused on opioid prescribing practices have begun to yield a reduction in the illicit supply of prescription opioids, according to the available data, without a corresponding increase in heroin-related deaths, suggesting that more prevalent and consistent prescribing guidelines should be helpful.

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