“There is little quality evidence about the benefits of long-term opioid use for chronic noncancer pain,” said Dongchun Wang, the author of the study. “Moreover, research finds that high doses and prolonged use of opioids may lead to addiction, increased disability, work loss, and even death.”
The report, Longer-Term Use of Opioids, 3rd Edition, examines the prevalence and trends of longer-term use of opioids in 25 states and how often the services recommended by medical treatment guidelines were used for monitoring and managing chronic opioid therapy. The study looked at longer-term opioid use over a two-year time period ending March 2014 and compared that with longer-term use over the two-year time period ending March 2012.
In North Carolina, there was a steady decline in the prevalence of long-term opioid use over the 3-year period from 9.7 percent in 2010-12 to 8 percent in 2012-14. The researchers attributed this downward trend at least in part to an increase in use and registration for the state’s Controlled Substance Reporting System (CSRS), especially among those who prescribe the most opioids.