New Data on Opioid Use and Prescribing, 2006-2015

New Data on Opioid Use and Prescribing, 2006-2015 | Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology | JAMA | The JAMA Network – July 6, 2017 – Anne Schuchat, MD; Debra Houry, MD, MPH; Gery P. Guy Jr, PhD, MPH

Though the new data proves Rx opiods are no longer the source of overdoses, these authors believe that when their policy isn’t working, they should merely intensify their failing efforts.

This practice follows the often stated definition of insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” (like the whole drug-war)

On July 6, 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between 2006 and 2015 the amount of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 at 782 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per capita and then decreased each year through 2015 to 640 MME per capita. 

Prescribing rates increased from 72.4 to 81.2 prescriptions per 100 persons between 2006 and 2010, were constant between 2010 and 2012, and then declined to 70.6 per 100 persons from 2012 to 2015, a 13.1% decline.

Additional data from the report include that high-dose opioid prescribing, defined as a daily dose of 90 MME or higher, was stable between 2006 and 2010, and then declinedfrom 11.4 per 100 persons in 2010 to 6.7 in 2015

However, nationally, despite the observed reductions in opioid prescribing, opioid-involved overdose death rates continue to increase.

These increases are driven largely by the use of illicit opioids, such as heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl

The increase in illicit opioids and high levels of prescription opioid use are related.

What? This statement is clearly wrong in light of the new data.

There is no evidence that state policies designed to reduce inappropriate opioid prescribing are leading to increases in heroin use and deaths from illicit opioid use. In fact, such policies have been shown to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed, prescription opioid–involved overdose deaths, and all opioid-involved deaths.

What? This goes against all the stories of people moving to illegal opioids from legal prescription opioids when the legal drugs are withdrawn.

Reducing overprescribing practices prevents people from becoming addicted in the first place, potentially changing the demand for opioids.

Corresponding Author: Anne Schuchat, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop D14, Atlanta, GA 30329 (

2 thoughts on “New Data on Opioid Use and Prescribing, 2006-2015

  1. Richard A. Lawhern, Ph.D.

    The Pew Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts has released a detailed report on June 19th 2017 to the President’s Commission on Combating Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. This report reveals the complete lack of relationship between drug related incarceration and drug problems in society at large. To summarize in one sentence: the war on drugs is a complete failure, making the problems WORSE.


    Quoting from Pew’s summary of the report:

    Pew’s analysis found no statistically significant relationship between states’ drug offender imprisonment rates and three measures of drug problems: rates of illicit use, overdose deaths, and arrests. The findings reinforce previous research that cast doubt on the theory that stiffer prison terms deter drug use and related crime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      It’s hard to believe anyone can still seriously believe the drug-war is a good idea.

      Most of the problems supposedly caused by drugs (especially systemic ones) are really the result of the war on drugs :-(



Other thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s