Opioids Market – Majorly Impacted By Rising Adoption of Cannabis

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Opioid drugs act on the opioid receptors present in the central and peripheral nervous system. The drug class primarily used in relieving pain includes natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids. Codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl are some of the major prescription drugs in the global opioids agonist drugs market. Opioids can be administered as oral pills, parenteral, liquids, patches, or lozenges. Overdose and drug abuse is a major concern for health regulators worldwide, with the situation especially alarming in developed regions with easy access to these drugs. According to the World Drug Report 2016, a staggering 17.4 million people were affected by opioid drug abuse. Drug and health regulators are therefore, taking initiatives to govern pain prescriptions and curb the rate of opioid abuse. The U.S. FDA considers all opioids as schedule 2 drugs—drugs that have high abuse potential. In 2016, the CDC issued guidelines to prescribe opioids, limiting the daily dose of opioids to 90 morphine milligram equivalent (MME).

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Market Dynamics

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates published in 2015 by the American Pain Society, nearly 50 million people in the U.S. suffered from chronic pain. Use of opioids in cancer pain, orthopedic pain, neuropathic pain, post-operative pain, and lower back pain is very effective. With growing incidence of chronic pain, demand for opioids will also increase consequently.

North America is the largest market for opioids owing to availability of branded prescription and local products, which inadvertently also leads to drug abuse. There are local unbranded products available for every opioid derivative complementing the available prescription opioid brand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 73% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015 were due to opioids (57% in 2010). Moreover, emergence of cannabis as an alternative to opioids and legalization of the same in various regions is inhibiting the opioids market growth.

The global opioids market was valued at US$ 17,132.5 million in 2015 and is expected to witness a moderate CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period (2016 – 2024).

Opioids market majorly impacted by rising adoption of cannabis

The global opioids market experiences volatility due to various factors such as rampant production of opium and inclination of the masses towards use of alternate drugs such as cannabis. Cannabis is now being legalized in most parts of the U.S.—the major consumer of cannabis drug. Moreover, cannabis is the most cultivated drug crop in the world. Also, consumers in the U.S. find administering cannabis more effective than opioids, which is also impacting consumption of opioids. Due to this, Colorado is experiencing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. Cannabis is considered to be a healthy alternative to opioids. U.S. accounted for 77% share in the global opioids market in 2015. A study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, found that 32% of Canadians switched from using opioids to cannabis for relieving pain. Production of opium according to the World Drug Report 2016 declined in 2015 by 38% compared to that in 2014.

Increasing drug abuse impacting the opioids agonist drugs market outlook

The U.S. FDA considers all opioids as schedule 2 drugs—drugs that have high abuse potential. Codeine, fentanyl, meperidine, methadone, morphine, and hydrocodone are the most abused prescription opioid analgesics. Contrary to other regions, wherein codeine is expected to dominate the market globally, North America is expected to be primarily driven by sales of hydrocodone opioids. Drug abuse with opioid is characterized by prolonged use or overdosing of the prescribed medication. A 2015 study by the CDC concluded that people who are addicted to prescription analgesics are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Furthermore, CDC also states that 73% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015 were due to opioids (57% in 2010).

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Top Key Companies

Key companies covered as a part of this study include Purdue Pharma L.P., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., West – Ward Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Pfizer, Inc., Egalet Corporation, Allergan plc, Sanofi SA, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

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About Author

Curt Reaves started working for Plains Gazette in 2016. Curt grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. He has been a proud Texan for the past 5 years. Curt covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and ABCNews.com.