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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Some Doctors Prescribe Opioids Twice As Often

The overprescribing of prescription narcotics has left tragedy in its wake. The high rate of opioid overdose deaths has all the major health related agencies scrambling to find ways to curb the ever growing epidemic. New research indicates that a small number of doctors are responsible for the majority of narcotic prescriptions written, HealthDay reports. The findings come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis of drug-monitoring programs in eight states - representing about one-quarter of the population of the United States.

"Every day, 44 people die in American communities from an overdose of prescription opioids and many more become addicted," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden in an agency news release."States are on the frontline of witnessing these overdose deaths. This research can help inform their prescription overdose prevention efforts and save lives." 

The analyzed states include:
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
The analysis showed that prescribing practices vary from state to state, but in some states doctors were found to be prescribing around twice as many prescription opioids and sedatives as doctors in other states, according to the article. The researchers found that in some states prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, were being prescribed four times more often than in other states. What’s more, all eight states were found to prescribe prescription opioids twice as often as stimulants or sedatives.

"A more comprehensive approach is needed to address the prescription opioid overdose epidemic, including guidance to providers on the risks and benefits of these medications," said the director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Dr. Debra Houry, in the news release. 

The findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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