Consumption of Prescription Opioids for Pain: A Comparison of Opioid Use in the United States and Other Countries [June 2, 2021] [open pdf - 2MB]
From the Summary: "Beginning in the late 1990s, the consumption of medical opioids used to treat pain increased in many countries worldwide. Since that time, the United States has outpaced every other country in per capita opioid consumption. Most research suggests that high levels of prescription opioid consumption in the United States have contributed to the current epidemic of opioid misuse and overdose deaths. In response, several states and the U.S. federal government have demonstrated an interest in reducing opioid misuse and overdose deaths through legislation and executive initiatives. Understanding why the United States consumes more opioids per capita than other countries may help Congress construct effective legislation to reduce inappropriate or excess opioid consumption and mitigate related consequences, such as opioid misuse and overdose deaths. In addition, lawmakers in the United States could examine policies in peer countries for possible approaches to curb excessive prescription opioid use. A review of the scientific literature through February 2020 on international opioid consumption and prescribing practices pointed to several possible underlying reasons explaining the difference in opioid consumption per capita in the United States. [...] This report describes trends in opioids use across industrialized countries and identifies possible factors explaining the disproportionate use of prescription opioids in the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, R46805
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/