A white paper released out of the National Institutes of Health has found little evidence supporting the effectiveness of opioid drugs as treatment for long-term chronic pain. The report comes at an interesting point in time as opioids have become an increasingly popular option for chronic pain treatment. The seven-member panel at the NIH explained that many studies justifying the use of these drugs for chronic pain symptoms have been poorly conducted or did not last for a sufficient duration. Prescriptions for opioid drugs have “more than tripled in the past 20 years, with more than 219 million prescriptions written in 2011, according to the study.” Abuse of the drugs has also become an epidemic, with over 16,000 deaths in 2012 linked to overdoses.

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