Origins of Opioid Crisis More Complex Than Stated

Congratulations to Dr Nadeau on the publication of “Origins of Opioid Crisis More Complex Than Stated,” which was published in the recent issue of Pain Medicine News.



In a recent episode of Pain Medicine News’ ON PAIN video series, Matthew Ellis, PhD, MPE, appears to be suggesting that the availability of prescription opioids has affected the market for illicit drugs; that this availability helped to drive the demand for heroin; and thus, that the prescription opioid-to-heroin pathway made heroin more popular.

We suggest that the problem is considerably more complex, and these suggestions substantially reflect a simplification of the opioid crisis’s history that pervades most scientific and media discussions. This history can be readily traced back to the American Civil War,1 but we will focus on the more recent era.

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