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against all the stories of people moving to illegal opioids from legal prescription opioids when the legal drugs are withdrawn.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).