A new report from the CDC concluded that the number of opioid prescriptions is falling as is the average dose. However, even these declining values are reportedly too high, and the prescription period is still too long, according to the same report.
This is an important issue, as the United States is currently facing “the worst drug addiction epidemic” in its history, as underlined by the CDC.
Opioid Prescriptions Falling, Usage Periods Rising?
The newest report on the matter was released on June 06 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This targeted the opioid usage and prescription trends for the period in between 2006 to 2015. It also included county-level prescriptions for 2010 to 2015.
According to the results, the annual opioid prescribing rates dropped by 13 percent over this period. Namely, they fell from 81 prescriptions per 100 people to the reduced 71 for the same ration.
Opioid prescriptions also come with smaller dosages. Doctors are prescribing high doses less often than before. These values fell by 41 percent, from 11.4 per every 100 people to 6.7. Average prescription rates are also reportedly lower than before.
In general, the overall amount of prescribed opioids fell by 18 percent. They dropped from a peak of 782 morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) per capita back in 2010, to 640 MMEs/per capita in 2015.
However, the length of the opioid prescriptions also increased. From an average of 13 days back in 2006, they rose to an 18 days median in 2015. The CDC also adds that American residents are being prescribed three times more opioids than Europeans, for example.
Even with the decrease, they are also getting three times as many such medicines when compared to the same usage in the U.S. from back in 1999.
“The bottom line is that too many [people] are still getting too much for too long. And that is driving our problem with drug overdoses and drug overdose deaths in the country,” stated Anne Schuchat, the acting director of the CDC.
The latest data also points out to there being significant variations in opioid prescription trends across counties.
Schuchat declared that although the CDC noted an improvement, there is still is much more to do in trying to fight against opioid addiction.
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