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An epidemic of the use, misuse and overdose of opioids and deaths due to overdose, in the United States and Canada: is Europe next?

The United States and Canada are in the midst of an epidemic of the use, misuse and overdose of opioids, and deaths related to overdose. This is the direct result of overstatement of the benefits and understatement of the risks of using opioids by advocates and pharmaceutical companies. Massive amounts of prescription opioids entered the community and were often diverted and misused. Most other parts of the world achieve comparable pain relief using fewer opioids. The misconceptions about opioids that created this epidemic are finding their way around the world. There is particular evidence of the increased prescription of strong opioids in Europe. Opioids are addictive and dangerous. Evidence is mounting that the best pain relief is obtained through resilience. Opioids are often prescribed when treatments to increase resilience would be more effective. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2017;99-B:856-64.

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