Study: Opioids in young people linked to substance use related deaths

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A new study, released in the JAMA Pediatrics has found that young people given opioid prescriptions are 1 to 2 percent more likely to risk substance-related morbidity within five years of receiving the prescription.

Researchers looked at Swedish people between the ages of 13 and 29 who were opioid naïve when given an opioid prescription. Then they compared opioid prescription recipients with people who were given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The researchers also looked at twins or other multiple birth individuals who had been given opioid prescriptions with their c-multiple birth siblings who had not.

Of the more than 1.5 million people in the study, 193,922 had started an opioid prescription by December of 2013. Those were compared to 229,462 who were given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The study found that of those who were given opioids, the adjusted cumulative incidence of morbidity related to substances within five years was 6.2 percent. Of those given the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the incidence of substance-related morbidity within five years was only 4.9 percent. Similar results were seen in comparing twins, researchers said.

Researchers said similar results were seen in other studies, and that their findings show that the increase in substance-related morbidity could be smaller than was seen in other studies trying to estimate the effects of opioids on substance-related deaths.

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