Key Factors Underlying Increasing Rates of Heroin Use and Opioid Overdose in the US

"A key factor underlying the recent increases in rates of heroin use and overdose may be the low cost and high purity of heroin.45,46 The price in retail purchases has been lower than $600 per pure gram every year since 2001, with costs of $465 in 2012 and $552 in 2002, as compared with $1237 in 1992 and $2690 in 1982.45 A recent study showed that each $100 decrease in the price per pure gram of heroin resulted in a 2.9% increase in the number of hospitalizations for heroin overdose.46"

Opioids Do Not Have Potential To Cause Malformations To An Embryo Or Fetus

"It is important to note that, contrary to alcohol, benzodiazepines and nicotine, opioids do not have teratogenic potential (3). Thus, special attention needs to be paid to dependence and abuse of legal substances and prescription drugs that can have severe consequences for the foetus and newborn, such as foetal developmental disorders or sudden infant death syndrome (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence, 2013; McDonnell-Naughton et al., 2012)."

Increasing Involvement Of Benzodiazepines In Opioid Overdose Mortality In The US

Increasing Involvement Of Benzodiazepines In Opioid Overdose Mortality In The US, 2011: "In 2011, 5,188 opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths also involved benzodiazepines (sedatives used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures), up from 527 such deaths in 1999 (Figure 3). From 2006 through 2011, the number of opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths involving benzodiazepines increased 14% on average each year, while the number of opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths not involving benzodiazepines did not change significantly."

Worldwide Growth in Novel Psychoactive Substances

"Between 2008 and 2015, a total of 644 NPS had been reported by 102 countries and territories to the UNODC early warning advisory on NPS. The emergence of NPS was reported for the first time in 2015 in Kyrgyzstan and Mauritius. In 2015, the early warning advisory also registered the emergence of NPS in previous years in Belarus, Serbia, South Africa and Tajikistan. The majority of countries and territories that reported the emergence of NPS up to December 2015 were from Europe (41), followed by Asia (30), Africa (16), the Americas (13) and Oceania (2).

Tolerance of Opiates and Escalation of Effective Dosage

"During long-term treatment, the effective opioid dose can remain constant for prolonged periods. Some patients need intermittent dose escalation, typically in the setting of physical changes that suggest an increase in the pain (eg, progressive neoplasm). Fear of tolerance should not inhibit appropriate early, aggressive use of an opioid. If a previously adequate dose becomes inadequate, that dose must usually be increased by 30 to 100% to control pain."

Prevalence of Analgesic Use Among Young People in Australia

Prevalence of Analgesic Use Among Youth in Australia: "Regularity of use: Of students who had used analgesics in the past year, 54% of females and 43% of males had used analgesics 10 or more times in the previous year. Sixteen per cent of males and 10% of females reported use of analgesics only once or twice in the past year.
"Of the male students who had used analgesics in the past week, 71% had used them only once or twice, while 20% had used them 3-5 times. Of the female students who had used analgesics in the past week, 68% had used them once or twice and 22% had used them 3-5 times."