MONDAY, Oct. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Prescription pain medication (PPM) abuse decreased significantly from 2007 to 2018, according to a study presented at ANESTHESIOLOGY, the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held virtually from Oct. 2 to 5.

Mario Moric, and Asokumar Buvanendran, M.D., from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2002 to 2018 to examine illicit drug use of PPM during the previous 12 months. Due to a survey redesign for the 2015 survey, data were compared for 2002 to 2014 and for 2015 to 2018.

The researchers found that from 2002 to 2009, the rates of PPM abuse remained steady, with a sharp decline noted in 2010. An increase was seen through 2012, followed by a steady decrease from 2012 to 2014. Significant declines were seen from 2002 to 2013 and 2014, and from 2015 to 2016, 2017, and 2018. From 2007 to 2018, there was a decrease of 26 percent, from 4.9 to 3.7 percent.

“Prior research has shown slight reductions in abuse rates, but our analysis shows we’re tracking statistically significant year-to-year declines in abuse, indicating that the decrease is not an anomaly and truly represents a trend in falling prescription drug abuse levels,” Moric said in a statement. “We believe the message of the dangers of opioid use without supervision of a medical professional is finally getting through and changing people’s mindset and behavior.”

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