Current status of opioid epidemic in the United Kingdom and strategies for treatment optimisation in chronic pain

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The increase in opioid prescriptions in the United States has been accompanied by an increase in misuse as well as overdose and toxicity related morbidity and mortality. However, the extent of the increased opioid use, including misuse in the United Kingdom, currently remains less debated. Recent studies in the United Kingdom have shown a rise in opioid use and attributed deaths, particularly in areas with higher deprivation. There are also large variations amongst the devolved nations; Scotland has the highest drug-related deaths and year-on-year increase within Europe. Better clinical guidelines that can enable person-centred management of chronic pain, medicines optimisation, and early diagnosis and treatment of opioid use disorder are crucial to addressing opioid-related morbidity and mortality in the United Kingdom.


Original languageEnglish
Journal International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Early online date30 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2020


  • Chronic non-malignant pain, Chronic opioid therapy, Opioid use disorder, United Kingdom