About 60 percent of people who abused opioids did not have a prescription

physicians to implement improved methods when they assess patients’ pain levels and evaluate when an opioid prescription is absolutely necessary.

Health care experts from different federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health have been working together to develop new strategies to treating pain and potentially reduce the number of people whose self-medicating habits lead to a substance use disorders.  

The current methods of gathering data used by these federal organizations are also undergoing changes and updates that may improve accuracy for researchers and policy makers.

“We only showed the prevalence of prescription misuse for 2015, and we didn’t present any other data because we are redesigning our survey questionnaire,” Han said. “But next year we will be able to present whether these numbers are continuing to go up or not.”