Lester Holt reported on NBC Nightly News (7/31, story 4, 2:15, Holt) that a “startling new report” from federal health officials shows that “in 2015, nearly 92 million American adults used a prescription opioid.” More than “11 million reported misusing opioids, and nearly two million said they were addicted.” Anne Thompson added that “almost half of those who misuse opioids get them from family and friends.”
Reuters (7/31, Seaman) reports the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, estimated that “about 38 percent of U.S. adults were prescribed an opioid in 2015,” about five percent of US adults were misusing opioids, and about one percent of adults had an opioid use disorder. Study coauthor and National Institute on Drug Abuse deputy director Dr. Wilson Compton said, “A very large proportion and large number of adults use these medications in a given year.” He added, “I was still a bit surprised that 38 percent or about 92 million people used prescription opioids in 2015.”
The Washington Post (7/31, Humphreys) reports the study also found “that opioid misuse and addiction are now as prevalent in urban areas and suburbs as they are in rural ones.” However, “rural areas face unique challenges regarding prescription opioids,” including few “health-care professionals who can treat addicted patients” and long distances for first responders to travel.
— “More than a third of US adults prescribed opioids in 2015,” Andrew M Seaman, Reuters, July 31, 2017.