Keith Humphreys reports that although opioid prescribing is down in the US, it’s still enormously higher than any other country in the world. However, taking opioids away from existing users can harm them, so the best way to reduce the use of opioids is to stop prescribing them in the first place:
U.S. dentists, for example, do not need to continue initiating prescribed opioids after dental procedures at 70 times the rate of English dentists. Nor should one in eight Americans seeking treatment for a sprained ankle continue being started on opioids.
What? I know that different people have different tolerances for pain, but opioids for a sprained ankle? That’s as ridiculous as it sounds, isn’t it? Speaking from frequent experience, the pain just isn’t that bad. Why would opioids ever be prescribed?