CDC Vital Signs: Opioid Painkiller Prescribing – Where You Live Makes a Difference
Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012. This is enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills, according to this month’s edition of CDC Vital Signs.
These prescriptions were distributed unevenly throughout the United States—health care providers in the highest prescribing state wrote almost three times as many opioid painkiller prescriptions per person as those in the lowest prescribing state. Southern states, especially Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia, had the most painkiller prescriptions per person.
Florida is one example of a state that has reversed its overdose trend. After statewide legislative and enforcement actions in 2010 and 2011, painkiller prescribing declined, and the death rate from prescription drug overdose decreased 23 percent by 2012.
Read this month’s Vital Signs to learn more about this issue and the steps that everyone can take to reduce overprescribing and the risk of overdose, while making sure all patients in all states have access to safe, effective pain treatment.