Bulk of Ohio physicians still overprescribe opioids, despite legislation

 

Ohio physicians are still prescribing too many opioids to residents, despite the implementation of opioid-limiting legislation, according to a new report from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Here are four things to know:

1. The Office of Federal Investigation found 5,000 Medicaid beneficiaries received extreme doses of opioids in 2017. More than 40,000 children under age 18 also received opioid prescriptions during that time period. 

2. Of those children, 385 suffered from cancer or received hospice care, and 6,000 were prescribed up to two or more opioid refills. 

3. Around 231 individuals were thought to be actively looking and finding different physicians to receive large amounts of opioids. In one case, an individual received 59 prescriptions in 2017. 

4. Researchers believe physicians and pharmacies may  not be adhering to Ohio's opioid prescription restrictions, which could put Medicaid beneficiaries at risk.

"Some prescribers may not be screening beneficiaries for substance abuse issues as frequently as suggested in Ohio’s prescribing guidelines for patients with chronic pain," they wrote in the report. "Additionally, some prescribers and pharmacists may not be checking the [prescription drug monitoring program] as frequently as required, resulting in beneficiaries being able to obtain dangerously high amounts of opioids from several prescribers or pharmacies."

More articles on opioids: 

Ohio allocates $3M to drugmaker creating abuse-proof opioid
Opioid overdoses fuel declining US life expectancy: 3 things to know
Why states' opioid prescribing regulations may be a detriment to chronic pain patients

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