Chronic opioid use is a post-surgery complication
Roughly 6% of people who took opioid pain relievers for the first time following a surgery continued to take the drugs three months later, after pain would typically subside, a new study shows. The researchers estimated that each year as many as 2 million people in the U.S. could begin persistently using the drugs following a surgical procedure.
Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic — nearly 340 people died each week in 2015 by overdosing on prescription opioid pain relievers. There has been a tremendous amount of attention on opioid abuse stemming from chronic pain management but less is known about how the drugs are used after surgery.