Trends in Opioid Analgesic Abuse and Mortality in the United States

New England Journal of Medicine 372(16):1572 (2015) PMID 25875268

To the Editor: Dart et al. (Jan. 15 issue)1 conclude that the United States may be making progress in controlling the abuse of opioid analgesics. However, they understate the increasing problem of opioid-associated deaths, especially those related to heroin. First, the death rates in Figure 3 of the article appear low, suggesting that only approximately 43 people and 18 people died from heroin and prescription opioids, respectively, during 2012. On the basis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Warner et al.2 estimated that there were 5925 heroin-associated deaths and 16,007 opioid analgesic–associated deaths during 2012. More . . .

DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1501822