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Health & Science

CDC Concludes Opioid Prescriptions are Down, But Overdose Deaths Remain High in Ohio

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A new report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that the number of prescriptions for opioids is going down but remains high. The rate also varies widely from county to county.

The overall prescribing of opioids went down 18percent from 2010 to 2015 across the country but its repercussions are still on an upward trajectory in Ohio. Overdose deaths jumped 13 percent from 2013 to 2014 here. And increased another 21.5 percent the following year.  

'We still have too many people getting opioid prescriptions for too many days and too high a dose.'

The interim director of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat, says heaalth researchers aren’t sure why opioid prescription rates vary so much county by county, but the highest rates are among white people in Appalachia "where more people were uninsured and unemployed and where more people had diabetes, arthritis or disabilities,."

Schuchat says policy changes by doctors and state regulators and the closings of pill mills have gone a great way to bring down the over-prescribing of addictive-pain medications.

But "the bottom line remains: We still have too many people getting opiois prescriptions for too many days and too high a dose,” she said."

Schuchat says opioid use today is still three times what it was in 1999 and four times what it is in Europe.   The CDC reports’s it was enough in 2015 for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.