Twelve states have more opioid prescriptions than people

Not every state has seen an equal rise in opioid use. In Hawaii, doctors wrote 52 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in 2012, the least of any state according to a 2014 CDC study. In Alabama, it was almost 143 prescriptions per 100 people, more than anywhere else.

In all, 12 states had more opioid prescriptions than people 2012:

  • Alabama: 142.9 per 100 people
  • Tennessee: 142.8
  • West Virginia: 137.6
  • Kentucky: 128.4
  • Oklahoma: 127.8
  • Mississippi: 120.3
  • Louisiana: 118
  • Arkansas: 115.8
  • Indiana: 109.1
  • Michigan: 107
  • South Carolina: 101.8
  • Ohio: 100.1

The CDC study found no obvious geographic pattern to high levels of opioid prescriptions. If anything, researchers suspect that the variation shows a lack of consensus among doctors about how much pain medication to prescribe. Further, research shows that higher rates of prescription drug use don’t necessarily lead to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction.

“In fact, “the report says, “high rates of use might produce worse outcomes.”

Follow Prescription Advisory

Use of a state PDMP may help identify patients who are at high risk for diversion or doctor shopping… To quantify the effects of PDMPs, studies were conducted of ED providers who cared for adult patients with pain. Of the patients with complete data in one study, information from the state’s PDMP System altered prescribing practice in 41%.

ACEP - Annals of Emergency Medicine - 525

Doctors (and other clinicians) need to know what prescriptions have been given to their patients by other practitioners. This information should be included in the patients’ electronic health care records accessible through a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) that provides immediate information.

Presentation by the Dir., Div. of Epidemiology  NIH, National Institute on Drug Abuse, May 2013

David is Prescription Advisory’s Chief Marketing Officer. Software startups are his passion.

He also serves as the Director of Startup Grind Princeton and a mentor for the Princeton University eLab.

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