Trends in use and misuse of opioids in the Netherlands: A retrospective, multi-source database study
Number of pages
SourceLancet Public Health, 4, 10, (2019), pp. e498-e505
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
SW OZ BSI KLP
Lancet Public Health
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: The USA is currently facing a serious opioid misuse epidemic that started with increased prescribing of oxycodone and the inclusion of pain as a fifth vital sign, and eventually resulted in massive overdose mortality. In Europe, including the Netherlands, the medical use of opioids (mainly oxycodone) has also increased since 2009, but an increase in proxies for opioid misuse has not yet been described. METHODS: For this retrospective, multi-source database study, data were requested from several national databases in the Netherlands to evaluate the following time trends: (1) number of people with opioid prescriptions, (2) number of hospital admissions related to opioid intoxication, (3) number of people treated for opioid use disorder, and (4) number of people who died from opioid poisoning. Data were presented as the number per 100 000 inhabitants, using population data over the years 2008-17 from Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek). Data about the number of people with opioid prescriptions was obtained from the Drug Information Project (Genees- en hulpmiddelen Informatie Project) database hosted by the Dutch National Health Care Institute (Zorginstituut Nederland). Data about opioid-related hospital admissions between 2008 and 2017 were obtained from the Dutch National Hospital Care Basic Registration (Landelijke Basisregistratie Ziekenhuiszorg), a database managed by Dutch Hospital Data. Data about addiction treatment were obtained from the National Alcohol and Drugs Information System (Landelijk Alcohol en Drugs Informatie Systeem). Data on opioid mortality between 2008 and 2017 were obtained from the cause-of-death statistics database hosted by Statistics Netherlands. Each database covered almost the entire population of the Netherlands. FINDINGS: Between 2008 and 2017, the overall number of prescription opioid users nearly doubled from 4109 per 100 000 inhabitants to 7489 per 100 000 inhabitants, mainly because the number of oxycodone users quadrupled from 574 to 2568 per 100 000 inhabitants. In the same period, the number of opioid-related hospital admissions tripled from 2.5 to 7.8 per 100 000 inhabitants, and between 2008 and 2015 the number of patients in addiction care for opioid use disorders other than heroin increased from 3.1 to 5.6 per 100 000 inhabitants. Opioid-related mortality was stable between 2008 and 2014 with 0.21 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, but after 2014 it increased to 0.65 per 100 000 inhabitants in 2017. INTERPRETATION: Prescription opioid use increased substantially between 2008 and 2017, and several proxies for misuse show a parallel increasing trend. Although the Netherlands is far from the opioid epidemic faced by the USA, safe opioid prescribing guidelines should be implemented to prevent further escalation and to keep opioid painkillers available for those in need. FUNDING: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre.
Upload full text
Use your RU credentials (u/z-number and password) to log in with SURFconext to upload a file for processing by the repository team.