News Worms
News Worms

Opioid prescribing is still high and varies widely throughout the US

Opioid prescribing is still high and varies widely throughout the US

Despite that drop, seven of Arizona's counties remain in the highest quartile nationally with Mohave and Gila Counties leading the state.

The opioid crisis also involves many heroin overdoses, including some among addicts who became addicted to heroin after first becoming addiction to painkillers prescribed by a doctor. An estimated two million Americans had an opioid addiction in 2015.

The United States is in the midst of a massive opioid epidemic, and prescription opioids have played a key role in that epidemic.

Opioids - both legal, such as prescription oxycodone and hydrocodone, and illicit drugs, such as street fentanyl and heroin - killed more than 33,000 Americans in 2015. They also have a high unemployment rate, more doctors and more people living with arthritis and disabilities.

Chronic pain remains one of the top medical woes in the country, with opioids frequently prescribed to manage pain. "Previously, opioids had primarily been reserved for severe acute pain, postsurgical pain, and end-of-life care".

In 2015 the counties where prescriptions of opioids were highest at least six times more number of opioids were prescribed per resident compared to those counties where rates were lowest.

Some of the trends revealed by the data are encouraging, while others are troubling. "This variation highlights the need for health care providers to consider evidence-based guidance when prescribing opioids". Doctors and pharmacists will also have to check the system every 90 days in hopes of cutting back on doctor shopping by patients trying to get multiple prescriptions.

Despite efforts to address this epidemic, hundreds of people are year continue to fatally overdose from opioids.

Overall prescribing has fallen in the past few years, but the amount of opioids per person was still three times higher in 2015 than it was in 1999.

One positive note for Oklahoma was that 32 of the state's 77 counties saw decreases in the number of opioids prescribed from 2010 to 2015. That's a drop of 18 percent. If opioids are prescribed, the CDC recommends the duration of the prescription should be short - three days or less - and dose amounts should be as low as possible to achieve adequate pain relief. The rates have not increased - but nor have they decreased - since then.

Reassess benefits and risks when considering dose increases.

But the sheer volume of opioids prescribed that year was still three times higher than in 1999, according to new government data.

So has Wicomico County, which like Cecil has cut the amount prescribed by more than half between 2010 and 2015.

The high-prescribing counties can be found across the country, including in Minnesota, particularly in the state's northeastern region. It found that the top prescribing counties had almost six times the number of prescriptions as those with the lowest rates of prescriptions.

More concerning was the correlation of counties with high numbers of opioids prescribed and high rates of drug overdose deaths.

The in the midst of an opioid crisis. "We're still seeing too many people get too much for too long".

Gary Mendell, founder of the anti-drug advocacy group Shatterproof, said in a statement that while the CDC's numbers are a good start, real accountability in measuring opioid prescriptions comes with making those numbers transparent.


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