A white paper released out of the National Institutes of Health has found little evidence supporting the effectiveness of opioid drugs as treatment for long-term chronic pain. The report comes at an interesting point in time as opioids have become an increasingly popular option for chronic pain treatment. The seven-member panel at the NIH explained that many studies justifying the use of these drugs for chronic pain symptoms have been poorly conducted or did not last for a sufficient duration. Prescriptions for opioid drugs have "more than tripled in the past 20 years, with more than 219 million prescriptions written in 2011, according to the study. " Abuse of the drugs has also become an epidemic, with over 16,000 deaths in 2012 linked to overdoses.
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