"Even though opioids have been controlled in the United States with regulations and restrictions, opioid utilization has been increasing at an unprecedented pace (1-10). Manchikanti et al (1), in an evaluation of opioid usage over a period of 10 years, showed an overall increase of 149% in retail sales of opioids from 1997 to 2007 in the United States, with an increase of 1,293% for methadone, 866% for oxycodone, and 525% for fentanyl.
"Opioids are associated with adverse events such as sedation and dizziness that could potentially impact driving or work safety83. However, some studies suggest that opioids do not necessarily impair or may improve psychomotor and cognitive functioning in patients on opioids for chronic noncancer pain.224-227"
"Opioid medications are essential not only for drug dependence treatment but also for pain management. WHO estimates that 5 billion people live in countries with little or no access to controlled medicines that are used to treat moderate to severe pain.90 Up to 80% of the estimated 1 million patients in the end stages of AIDS are in great pain, but very few have access to pain relieving drugs91 because of insufficient knowledge among physicians, inadequate health systems, fears of addiction, antiquated laws, and unduly strict regulations.92"
"Heroin prescription is a form of medical care that involves strictly regulated and controlled prescription of heroin. Offered on its own or as a complement to treatment programs, it is often targeted for use by people for whom opioid substitution treatment and other programs have not succeeded."
"Findings show such programs are feasible and are associated with a number of positive outcomes,12 including:
"Eighty five percent of the BPG [Berkeley Patients Group] sample reported that cannabis has much less adverse side effects than their prescription medications. Additionally, the top two reasons listed by participants as reasons for substituting cannabis for one of the substances previously mentioned were less adverse side effects from cannabis (65%) and better symptom management from cannabis (57.4%).
"'Opioid' is a generic term for natural or synthetic substances that bind to specific opioid receptors in the CNS, producing an agonist action. Opioids are also called narcotics—a term originally used to refer to any psychoactive substance that induces sleep. Opioids have both analgesic and sleep-inducing effects, but the 2 effects are distinct from each other.
"An estimated 808,000 people aged 12 or older in 2018 used heroin in the past year (Figure 10), which corresponds to about 0.3 percent of the population (Figure 14). The estimate of past year heroin use in 2018 was higher than the estimates for most years between 2002 and 2008, but it was similar to the estimates in 2009 to 2017.