The Opioid Dilemma: Saving Lives in the Long Run Can Take Lives in the Short Run

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The unavoidable tension in attacking the opioid crisis is which time frame you’re talking about.

In the short term, many policies that would limit opioid prescriptions for the purpose of saving lives would cause people to turn to heroin or fentanyl.

In fact, over a 5-to-10-year period, that would increase deaths, not decrease them, according to a simulation study published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study was conducted by three Stanford University researchers, Allison Pitt, Keith Humphreys and Margaret Brandeau.

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