The notion seized upon by pharmaceutical companies in the late 1990s that patients would not become addicted to opioids has proved to be one of the biggest mistakes in modern medicine, a recent New York Times article reports. This notion, per The Times, was based on scant evidence from a limited number of patients.
A fundamental issue in the opioid epidemic is the more opioids prescribed, the more opioid abuse there will be. This was overlooked by doctors, regulators and drug makers who only divided the population into patients in legitimate pain who they believed wouldn’t become addicted, and drug addicts. Opioids are tricky in the scheme of addictive substances because unlike cigarettes, for example, they do have value in certain conditions. Despite their appropriateness in certain instances, they do need to be viewed by all as addictive and potentially deadly.