Opioid abuse on the decline according to RADARS System

Jan 14, 2015, 19:00 ET from RADARS System

DENVER, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After decades of opioid abuse, a new study by the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System shows that abuse rates are decreasing. Results from the publication, "Trends in Opioid Analgesic Abuse and Mortality in the United States" featured in the New England Journal of Medicine show that beginning in 2010 abuse rates in four different programs began to plateau and then decline from 2011-2013, bending the curve of opioid abuse.  Results suggest that through federal, state, and local interventions, the United States may be making progress in controlling the abuse of prescription opioids.

RADARS® System investigated the trends of six prescription opioids: oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl, morphine, and tramadol. Through data from drug-diversion investigators, poison centers, substance-abuse treatment centers and college students, multiple perspectives of abuse and diversion were investigated. The rates of opioid diversion and abuse flattened or decreased from 2011-2013 in four out of five programs; non-medical use did not change significantly in the college student population. The number of opioid-related deaths rose and fell in a similar pattern.

Although rates of abuse are encouraging, the rate of heroin deaths was found to be inversely related to the abuse of prescription opioids. Further investigation into this phenomenon will need to be addressed to develop public health policy and guide prevention and treatment initiatives.

About RADARS® System
The RADARS® System is a non-profit public health prescription drug abuse, misuse, and diversion surveillance system that collects timely product and geographically specific data. The RADARS® System has grown since its inception in 2001 and is made up of seven primary programs each designed to provide different but complementary perspectives on prescription drug abuse in the United States.

Contact: Kalena Wilkinson