"There is some evidence that higher prescribed doses increase the risk of drug overdose among individuals treated with opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.4 Specifically, the risk of drug-related adverse events is higher among individuals prescribed opioids at doses equal to 50 mg/d or more of morphine. The association of opioid prescribing patterns with risk of over-dose may vary across groups of patients; opioid treatment recommendations for pain are typically specific to particular subgroups such as those with chronic noncancer pain,5 cancer-related pain, and substance use disorders.6 However, potential subgroup differences in opioid prescribing have not been examined."


Bohnert, Amy S.B., et al., "Association Between Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths," Journal of the American Medical Association, April 6, 2011, Vol 305, No. 13, p. 1315.