As we have found out in the US, the over-prescription of opioids has led to an epidemic of addiction, overdoses and premature death. More than eleven percent of adults in the US report using prescription opioids for non-medical reasons. Now, that same trend is finding its way around the world.
In a January 2017 article in World Psychiatry, Martins and Ghandour report that use of prescription opioids is a growing concern globally. In many parts of the world, illegal drugs are hard to find so legal prescriptions "tend to be more easily available".
The authors point out that:
In areas in the Middle East, non-medical use of prescription drugs is rising to scary levels:
What makes the non-medical use of prescriptions so scary is that it often leads to abuse of street drugs. When the supply of prescription opioids run dry, people end up searching for and finding counterfeit pain pills or heroin on the street. The cycle continues. It will tragic if we have to watch what has happened here at home, work its way through the rest of the world.