Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prescriptions were distributed unevenly throughout the United States—health care providers in the highest prescribing state wrote almost three times as many opioid painkiller prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state, CDC’s Vital Signs reported. Southern states, especially Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia, had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.
Florida is one example of a state that has reversed its overdose trend, the CDC reported. After statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, painkiller prescribing declined, and the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent by 2012.
Tennessee and New York are two other states with drug monitoring programs that saw a significant reduction in prescribed opioids.