Skip to Main Content
Contribute Try STAT+ Today

If you have a surgery, you are likely to wind up with more opioid painkillers than you need. And a new paper suggests this excess supply might contribute to abuse and misuse of these addictive drugs.

A review of six published studies in which patients reported they were prescribed opioids after surgery found most of them used none or only some of the pills, sometimes due to side effects. Significantly, more than 90 percent of the patients failed to dispose of their leftover medicines in recommended ways, according to the review published in JAMA Surgery.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.
  • Ed, this debunks the myth that doctors “create” addiction. You’ve laid it out perfectly. Not that I condone overprescribing, but when the patient’s pain is relieved, and they have the CHOICE to return the opioids or destroy them, most choose to hang on to them although they don’t need them. This validates my long standing believe that your doctor didn’t make you an addict. By deliberately hording the meds YOU, THE ADDICT created the opportunity to become addicted. So let’s finally stop all of this blogging from your readers that shifts the blame away from the addicts and lays it us pharma folks, who one would believe lay awake at night conjuring ways to create new generations of drug addled ne’er-do-wells.


    As they say in the rehab biz, take your pick: jails, institutions, or death.

  • While the study finds 70-77 pct of participants did not lock up their Rx opioids, i find that extremely hard to believe. Does anyone you know have a locking medicine cabinet? I accept that there are a good number of unused prescriptions for pain out there but ‘out of reach’ is virtually all anyone I know ever does.

Comments are closed.