Opioid use is increasing, and not just for chronic conditions or cancer
Global concern about the prescribing of opioid analgesic medications (particularly oxycodone) for chronic pain is growing. In this Journal in September 2011, Roxburgh and colleagues examined the rise of oxycodone and morphine prescribing and the harm associated with opioid use.1 In the accompanying editorial, Hall and Farrell argued that this suggests that most prescribing of opioids was for chronic non-malignant pain.2 We tested this assertion using general practitioner prescribing data linked to the problem under management, and examined the characteristics of the GPs who prescribed opioids and the patients who received these prescriptions.
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