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Staggering’ number of chronic opioid patients dying, according to new study

Staggering’ number of chronic opioid patients dying, according to new study
August 20, 2015 summertreead

– Globe and Mail –

More than one in 10 people prescribed an opioid painkiller will remain on the drug for months and a significant number will die from an overdose, new Canadian research reveals.

One in 350 men and one in 850 women taking opioids chronically, or for three months or longer, will die as a result of the medication, according to the study, published on Thursday in the journal PLoS One.

The figures, notably for men, are “staggering,” according to David Juurlink, a senior scientist at Toronto’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and lead author of the study.

“While one in 350 might not sound particularly high, remember that tens of millions of patients take these drugs and we’re talking about death,” Dr. Juurlink said in an e-mail. “From a public health perspective, this is a very big deal.”

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