(Undertreatment of Pain Among Those With Chemical Dependency) "The undertreatment of pain is a significant concern in populations with chemical dependency. In painful disorders for which there is a broad consensus about the role of opioid therapy, specifically cancer and AIDS-related pain, studies have documented that this treatment commonly diverges from accepted guidelines. Undertreatment is far more challenging to assess when a broad consensus concerning optimal treatment approaches does not exist.
(Pain Treatment and Opioid Abuse) "Conventional wisdom suggests that the abuse potential of opioid analgesics is such that increases in medical use of these drugs will lead inevitably to increases in their abuse. The data from this study with respect to the opioids in the class of morphine provide no support for this hypothesis. The present trend of increasing medical use of opioid analgesics to treat pain does not appear to be contributing to increases in the health consequences of opioid analgesic abuse."
According to a public opinion poll released in 1999, "It is estimated that 9% of the U.S. adult population suffer from moderate to severe non-cancer related chronic pain."
(Factors in the Transition from Prescription Opiate Use to Heroin Use) "Multiple studies that have examined why some persons who abuse prescription opioids initiate heroin use indicate that the cost and availability of heroin were primary factors in this process.
Substance Use Disorders and Effective Pain Treatment: "Persons with substance use disorders are less likely than others to receive effective pain treatment (Rupp and Delaney, 2004). The primary reason is clinicians' concern that they may misuse opioids.
Number of Painkiller Prescriptions Written Annually In The US: "Prescribers wrote 82.5 OPR [Opioid Pain Reliever] prescriptions and 37.6 benzodiazepine prescriptions per 100 persons in the United States in 2012 (Table). LA/ER [Long-Acting or Extended Release] OPR accounted for 12.5%, and high-dose OPR accounted for 5.1% of the estimated 258.9 million OPR prescriptions written nationwide. Prescribing rates varied widely by state for all drug types. For all OPR combined, the prescribing rate in Alabama was 2.7 times the rate in Hawaii."
"In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws. This finding persisted when excluding intentional overdose deaths (ie, suicide), suggesting that medical cannabis laws are associated with lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality among individuals using opioid analgesics for medical indications.
"Opioid medications also have a potential for abuse (a discussion of this important issue is in the Executive Summary and Section III of the Evaluation Guide 2013). Consequently, opioid analgesics and the healthcare professionals who prescribe, administer, or dispense them are regulated pursuant to federal and state controlled substances laws, as well as under state laws and regulations that govern professional practice.70;71 Such policies are intended to prevent illicit trafficking, drug abuse, and substandard practice related to prescribing and patient care.