PA Sees Massive Drop in Prescribed Painkillers in Line With Rest of U.S.
Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced in a release that from 2013-2017 there was a 22% decrease in the prevalence of prescribed painkillers. The organization attributed this achievement to “physician leadership.”) This equates to about 55 million fewer bottles in 2017 than was tallied in 2013.
This trend in Pennsylvania alone is similar, officials estimating even a higher reduction than the U.S. as a whole.
The AMA contends that the nationwide drop has been affected by the increasing use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) by prescribers. PDMPs are computer databases that allow prescribers to ensure that their patients are not receiving drugs from other providers, or have experienced addiction problems for substances in the past.
AMA inquiries discovered that approximately 1.5 million healthcare providers are registered with PDMPs – a significant increase of 241,000 between 2016-2017. What’s more, queries to PDMPs more than doubled in 2017.
In 2016, Pennsylvania approved legislation that fortified it’s existing stagnant PDMP, and also implemented additional prescribing restrictions.
Naloxone (Narcan), an opioid overdose antidote, also doubled in the number of prescriptions. Additionally, the number of providers certified to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that reduces cravings, rose 42% in just one year.
In the AMA release, Patrice A. Harris, chair of the AMA’s Opioid Task Force, stated that although the report reveals physician leadership and action have helped to curb the epidemic, and that each day “more than 115 people in the United States die from an opioid-related overdose.”
She also stressed that we need to engage in a “concerted effort to greately expand access to high-quality care for pain [patients] and for substance use disorders.”
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~ Nathalee G. Serrels, M.A., Psychology