A new study by Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology indicates that the opioid epidemic in the US is projected to increase. They project an increase of 147% opioid deaths from 2015 to 2025. This translates to 81,700 deaths just in 2025 with 700,000 during that 10 year period. The study predicted that current restrictions on prescription opioids will only reduce overdose deaths by 3%-5%, by 2025. The real growth in death is expected to arise from illegal use of drug opioids such as heroine and fentanyl. The study also projected that 80% of the opioid deaths from 2015-2025 will be from illegal opioids and by 2025, 50% of all new opioid users will start with illegal opioids.
What this projection study shows is that a three prong approach is necessary to stem the death rate from opioid abuse. First, the US should continue to closely regulate the use of prescription opioids for pain management. Secondly, new strategies must be created to educate citizens of the highly addiction nature of illegal opioid drugs and at the same time reduce their availability. Finally, an evidence based addiction treatment program needs to be offered to those that want to quit.