The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a new report targeting the number of opioid prescriptions released annually in the United States. This found that although these values have been falling, their numbers are still too high.
At the same time, even though fewer people are prescribed opioids, the average prescription length is longer than in 2010. The new report analyzed and tracked opioid prescriptions in between 2006 to 2015.
Opioid Prescriptions Take a Slight Turn for the Better
On July 07, the CDC issued its latest Morbidity and Mortality Report. In it, experts monitored and underlined the changing trends among the opioid prescription values and properties. This is a highly serious issue, as the United States is facing an opioid addiction epidemic.
The report found that doctors have been prescribing fewer such drugs. Prescription values registered a peak in 2010 as, at the time, there were 81 written for every 100 people. This number began falling starting with 2012 and reached 71 prescriptions per 100 people in 2015.
In 2010, opioid prescriptions came with 782 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per person. This value also decreased to the lower 640 MME per person in 2015.
Still, despite the declining numbers, the number of such prescription is still too high and possibly worse, their duration has been getting longer. Namely, they have increased by around one-third as, in 2006, the average prescription was 13 days. In 2015, the median nearly reached 18 days.
In general, the number of opioids prescriptions fell by 18 percent when comparing the 2010 to the 2015 ratio. However, even these figures are some three times higher than they were back in 1999.
Also, the report found that there is a “tremendous variation between counties”. Namely, the highest opioid prescribing counties dispensed around six times more drugs than the lowest prescribing ones, according to the survey.
“The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. is still too high, with too many opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dosage,” stated Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s Acting Director.
She also pointed out that the CDC released several guidelines about prescribing opioids for doctors. Issued in 2016, their effects remain to be seen.
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