HealthDay News — Improved prescribing practices could help reduce opioid abuse and overdose deaths from those drugs, according to research published in the Oct. 16 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
CDC researchers analyzed 2013 data from prescription-drug-monitoring programs in California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, and West Virginia, which represent about one-quarter of the U.S. population.
The researchers found a small number of doctors who were heavy prescribers. Also, prescribing practices varied widely among states even though the conditions these drugs are meant to treat occur at similar rates, the researchers said. In all eight states, opioids were prescribed twice as often as stimulants or tranquilizers/sedatives.
“A more comprehensive approach is needed to address the prescription opioid overdose epidemic, including guidance to providers on the risks and benefits of these medications,” Debra Houry, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a news release.