The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that somewhere between 21 and 29 percent of people that are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them and between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder. More than 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, commonly referred to as an opioid addiction. This is classified as a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.
However, there are other factors in your medical history and past experiences that can significantly increase your chances of developing an opioid addiction. If you have experienced a childhood trauma, have other mental health conditions or your social circumstances reinforce substance use, you are more at risk of developing an addiction. Studies have also found that the longer someone is on a course of opioids the greater their risk of addiction becomes. Always talk to your prescriber about the risks associated with opioid prescriptions and potential alternatives.