Saturday, 22 July, 2017

CDC: Rural Counties Have Highest Opioid Prescription Levels In Oregon

Painkiller prescribing varies greatly by county Opioid prescriptions have dropped despite the growing drug epidemic, CDC says
Sammy Stanley | 08 July, 2017, 00:31

Prescriptions for highly addictive opioids fell in the United States between 2012 and 2015, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Moreover, U.S. doctors are still prescribing three times as many opioids as they were in 1999 and three times more than their European counterparts, according to the CDC.

Drug overdoses accounted for more than 52,400 deaths in the United States in 2015 and 63% of those involved an opioid, according to the CDC.

In 2012 for every 100 people, the number of opioids prescribed was a staggering 81.2.

The state integrated the monitoring program into an electronic medical record system that allows medical offices statewide to share patient information such as emergency visits and X-rays when they use different facilities. Overall, the average supply grew about 14 percent, to 17.7 days' worth from 15.5.

The state Department of Health reported in June there were more than 2,000 overdose deaths a year ago, which was a 66 percent increase from 2015, a record jump.

Schuchat says opioid use today is still three times what it was in 1999 and four times what it is in Europe. The CDC wrote this suggests inconsistent prescribing practices and differences in care based on where people live. We all experience them. "But even after surgery or an injury, most other patients can transition to safer OTC pain relievers within three days, says Avitzur". The numbers will serve as a baseline to measure the impact of those guidelines going forward, said acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, MD. The most recent numbers show that almost 450 possible overdoses were reported in the second half of June, with the highest concentration in Maricopa and Pima Counties. Those living in micropolitan areas or non-metro small cities and big towns and with higher levels of unemployment received a greated percentage of opipids in their prescriptions.

Previous reports have shown that rural areas have been particularly hard-hit, but that is not captured in this report. "Very few other patients need powerful prescription painkillers for more than a week".

But there are some places that seem to be succeeding.

A new report shows prescription rates by county.

"In 2011 and 2012, OH and Kentucky, respectively, mandated that clinicians review Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data and implemented pain clinic regulation", the team noted. And there is still tremendous regional variation in how many opioids doctors prescribe, with far more prescribed per capita in parts of Maine, Nevada and Tennessee, for example, than in most of Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.

The average days' supply per prescription increased 33% from 13 days in 2006 to nearly 18 days in 2015.

Despite the national decline in the amount of opioids prescribed, the analysis found that the average number of days that opioid prescriptions were meant to last actually increased in 73 percent of the counties from 2010-2015. A previous study from the CDC found that prescriptions for eight or more days increased the likelihood of using a drug a year later to 13.5%. To combat overprescribing, she said physicians should do so only when benefits outweigh risks.

Nationally, some numbers are encouraging: The CDC found prescription numbers peaked in 2010 and decreased each year since.

However, in 2009, the American Pain Society and the American Academy of Pain Medicine released guidelines aimed at reducing prescribing habits by care providers.

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