According to a new federal report, state-sanctioned regulations on the prescription of opiate drugs have helped lower the number of people getting addicted to it. However, the report also noted that some localities still have a high incidence of opiate addiction.
The CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention found out that the quantity of opiate prescription per county depends greatly on the number of health providers in that area and their individual prescription patterns.
Reports show that though the numbers of prescriptions per county have decreased, the amounts prescribed to already existing patients have increased. Some believe that this may be a contributing variable in the persistent addiction levels among users.
According to a study conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the number of opioid use related disorders have increased by 493% during the period 2010 to 2016. The alarming result was gathered from an estimated 30 million participants across the United States. Blue Cross Blue Shield is a group of multiple independent insurance providers in the United States.
According to a study conducted by four doctors namely Dr. Dowell, Dr. Zhang, Dr. Noonan, and Dr. Hockenberry the policies regarding drug prescription, specifically, opiates, implemented by legislators in an area cause a significant drop in opiate prescription and overdose.
“The policies implemented in these states have been shown to reduce both the amount of opioids prescribed and opioid overdose death rates. These types of state innovations demonstrate that substantial changes are possible,” wrote the four researchers.
However, nationally, even with the implementation of policies like these, the number of opiate-related overdose is still increasing. This is mainly due to the shift of addicts from prescribed drugs to illicit or illegal drugs such as heroine. Addictiontreatment.education has shown alternative ways opiate addiction can be approached by an afflicted individual.
According to a statement from the CDC, opiate use nationwide had increased in the past decades due to doctors becoming more comfortable prescribing the drug to less severe cases such chronic pains, in contrast to the drug being limited to cancer patients, or palliative care in the past.
Opiate use, however, dropped in 2015 when policies started being implemented. The decline continued through the next five years. However, the report says that supply of the drug is still large. It is said to be almost three times compared to how it was in 1999.
Varying numbers of prescription are said to be found between cities or areas. CDC blames the variations to the demographics of each particular area. CDC claimed that prescriptions of the drug are much higher in more urbanized areas, compared to high unemployment areas.
“The pattern of opioid prescribing — including dose and duration — and the patient’s risk factors of age, gender, and condition are major determinants of whether a patient becomes dependent,” the Blue Cross Blue Shield report noted.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that about 20,101 overdose deaths due to prescription pain relievers in 2015. They also estimated that about 20.5 million Americans aged 12 and above, have substance use disorder. It is a grim reminder that drug abuse in the country needs to be seriously faced.
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