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Dr. Blackburn:

This is a supply problem, plain and simple. The United States, with but 3% of the world's population, consumes 80% of it's opioids. If the supply were more appropriately prescribed the opportunity for overdose - whether diverted or prescribed - would be substantially diminished.

To suggest that diversion alone is the cause of the problem is disingenuous. As you know, unintentional opioid overdoses are also occurring amongst patients who obtained their medication from a prescribing physician as well. (1,2) Of note, the factors for unintentional overdose deaths include, but are not limited to, the dose prescribed.

1. Risk of Adverse Health Outcomes with Increasing Duration and Regularity of Opioid Therapy
Leonard J. Paulozzi, MD, Kun Zhang, PhD, Christopher M. Jones, PharmD and Karin A. Mack, PhD. JABFM May-June 2014.



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