State Laws Lead to Small But Significant Dips in Opioid Prescribing
Two Florida laws aimed to reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse led to a small but significant decrease in the amount of opioids prescribed in the first 12 months of implementation, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The first measure created a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to track individual prescriptions, including patient names, dates, and amount prescribed to detect excesses associated with addiction and illicit use. The second initiative requires clinics to register with the state and be owned by a physician to address loosely regulated pain clinics that often dispense a disproportionately high number of prescriptions for opioids. In this study, opioid prescriptions in the state were compared to those in Georgia for the 12 months before and after the two policies were implemented in 2011. The study examined total opioid volume prescribed per month, the average dosage or morphine milligram equivalent per transaction, the average days supply per transaction, and the total number of prescriptions. A total of 36.9 million prescriptions from the two states were compared.
In the first 12 months after the laws were implemented, the number of opioid prescriptions in Florida were reduced by 1.4% and the volume of opioids went down by 2.5% compared to prescriptions in Georgia. The amount per prescription fell by 5.6% in Florida and the declines were largest among the heaviest users and prescribers. There was no observed effect on the number of days supply.
All fifty states and the District of Columbia currently have prescription drug monitoring programs enacted and at least a dozen states have begun regulating pain management clinics to curb prescription drug abuse and misuse of narcotics.
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