Mark Sullivan, UW professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the executive director of COPE for Chronic Pain CME at the UW School of Medicine, commented in the August 2015 issue of the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety on the risks of prescribing opioids and sedatives. “We are making progress on decreasing opioid prescribing, but co-prescribing of opioids and sedatives have not decreased.”
Sullivan said most prescription opioid deaths commonly involve alcohol, sedatives and/or illicit drugs such as heroin. But the most fatal combination is opioids and common benzodiazepines, which are medications prescribed for depression, anxiety and sleep. For more information, see the release from COPE.