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Analysis Examines Opioid Prescribing Trends Across States

A new analysis of opioid prescribing trends in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds the number of filled opioid prescriptions fell by 13 percent (net) across states between 2006 and 2017.

However, the prescribing rate of long-term (30 days or more) opioid prescriptions rose from 18 to 25 percent of all prescriptions, and the average number of days for opioid prescriptions climbed from 13 days to 18 days. The researchers note that extended opioid use is most associated with abuse and overdose and recommend further study on the increase in long-term opioid prescriptions.

This analysis includes prescriptions for high-dosage, short-term, extended-release, and long-acting opioids.

Considerable variation existed across states. In particular, notable increases in long-term opioid prescriptions occurred in Midwestern and southeastern states. In 2017, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia had the highest prescribing rates of long-term opioids.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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