Oxycodone linked to rising opioid-related deaths

A new study conducted in the Canadian province of Ontario has concluded that abusive use has boosted the number of deaths related to opioid drug oxycodone.

The study, published in the journal CMAJ, was run by a team led Dr. Irfan Dhalla of the University of Toronto. The group looked at prescription records from 1991 to 2007, drawn from agency tracking information from roughly two-thirds of Canadian pharmacies. In addition, the group looked at coroner death records between 1991 and 2004.

Researchers found that the number of deaths from opioid use has doubled since 1991 in that region. Researchers link the rise of greater use of the drug, also known as OxyContin, to a five-fold increase in deaths. Most of these drug deaths were accidental, researchers found.

During that period, prescriptions for opioid painkillers grew by 29 percent, with codeine leading the prescribing list.

Get more background on the study:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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