Opioids caused 220 deaths, 2,200 hospitalizations in NL in one year: report

The number of deaths caused by the use of strong painkillers in the Netherlands increased by almost 50 percent between 2013 and 2017. Two years ago 220 people died due to the use of opioids, and 2,200 people were admitted to hospital, according to research by Leiden University Medical Center and Utrecht University, RTL Nieuws reports.

"It is a significant increase", researcher Albert Dahan said to the broadcaster. "And then we couldn't even take the figures for 2018 and 2019 into account, because they are not there yet. But I assume that it is even more now." Last month Dahan said that "thousands" of people in the Netherlands are currently addicted to painkillers. 

The researchers studied the painkillers in the 'opioid' group. Oxycodone was the most common painkiller in this study. This painkiller was already under fire, because doctors and specialists prescribed it more and more over the past years. In 2008 doctors wrote 94 thousand oxycodone prescriptions. By 2018, that number increased to 484 thousand, according to the broadcaster

These strong painkillers are dangerous, Dahan said to RTL. "For example, a too high dose of oxycodone can slow down breathing, even until it stops altogether. Especially in combination with alcohol and sleeping pills, oxycodone is potentially fatal."