Making opioids harder to abuse led to a spike in heroin overdoses
A 2010 effort to deter opioid abuse led to a surge in heroin overdoses, according to a new working paper in NBER. The painkiller OxyContin was reformulated in 2010, and while it became harder to abuse, "each prevented opioid death was replaced with a heroin death," the paper says.
Why it matters: This underlines yet another reason why the opioid epidemic is so difficult to address. Even common-sense solutions may have unintended consequences.