Health experts fear that the opioid crisis in the United States, which is responsible for America’s deadliest drug epidemic in decades, will spread to Europe.
Europe should heed the threat from the US opioid crisis, as both regions have seen rises in prescription painkillers and drug overdose deaths, experts say.
“We (in Europe) are mindful of all the facets of the US conversation, but where we start on this is a very similar increase in prescription rates of opioid medicines,” Cathy Stannard, a consultant in pain medicine, told the Lisbon Addictions 2017 conference on Thursday.
The “undoubted public health disaster of misuse of prescription opioids” in the US had led European countries to scrutinize the risks that patients become addicted, or subsequently turn to heroin, she said.
US drug overdose deaths in 2016 continued to climb despite ongoing efforts to stem the epidemic, according to the latest government numbers.