The risk of a single 5-day opioid prescription, in one chart

‘Now that it’s clear opioid painkillers have helped cause the worst drug epidemic in history, health experts are scrambling to figure out when dependency on these powerful prescription drugs starts — and how to prevent it.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the relationship between the number of days of someone’s first opioid prescription and their long-term use. It found that that number has a huge impact: Patients face an increased risk of opioid dependency in as few as four days of taking the drugs.

As you can see in the chart below, opioid prescriptions longer than five days in length significantly increased the likelihood of continued opioid use both one and three years later…’

Source: Vox

2 thoughts on “The risk of a single 5-day opioid prescription, in one chart

  1. I don’t see the spike. It looks like a pretty continuous linear relationship from days two to ten…


  2. I am so thankful to have avoided this. Had some major pain a decade ago, it was 24/7 for 2 years. Doctors prescribed opioids like they were super-sized packages of M & M’s. But I always made sure to only take enough to reduce the pain to a level that I could handle (call it a “6” or “7”). I would still be lying in bed crying, but at least I didn’t have to kill myself, and I never became addicted.

    I think a lot of people take it at a level to ELIMINATE the pain. Granted, they may have to go to work or take care of a family, but in many cases that is not the right way to do it. But Doctors do not educate you about that.


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