Article: Medication-Assisted Therapies — Tackling the Opioid-Overdose Epidemic

Medication-Assisted Therapies — Tackling the Opioid-Overdose Epidemic

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., and Stephen S. Cha, M.D.

N Engl J Med 2014; 370:2063-2066 May 29, 2014

The rate of death from overdoses of prescription opioids in the United States more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2010 , far exceeding the combined death toll from cocaine and heroin overdoses. In 2010 alone, prescription opioids were involved in 16,651 overdose deaths, whereas heroin was implicated in 3036. Some 82% of the deaths due to prescription opioids and 92% of those due to heroin were classified as unintentional, with the remainder being attributed predominantly to suicide or “undetermined intent.”

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