Study of States With Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Highlights Continued Opioid Problem

November 5, 2015

Despite prescription drug monitoring programs enacted in several states, opioids continue to be prescribed twice as much in some states versus other states, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report’s data is derived from analysis of state prescription drug monitoring programs in eight states, including California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho Louisiana, Maine, Ohio and West Virginia.

The analysis found that opioid prescriptions peaked in either of two age groups: 45-54 year olds or 55-64 year olds, likely a result of more frequent complaints of chronic pain due to aging.

Louisiana topped the states for the most opioid prescriptions.

Key Findings:

  • Opioid pain relievers are prescribed twice as often as other controlled substances, such as antianxiety and insomnia medication.
  • The top 10 percent of prescribers provide half or more of the opioid prescriptions, indicating a potential need for improved prescribing practices.
  • Opioid prescribing peaked in the 45 – 54 or the 55 – 64 age groups, and this may be due in part to increasing prevalence of chronic pain with age.
  • Women are prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines more often than men, which is consistent with a higher rate of chronic pain and anxiety disorders among women.

Source: CDC

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