These 4 states saw the biggest drop in opioid prescriptions

Programs dedicated to monitoring prescription drug use in Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee and New York have significantly reduced opioid prescriptions, according to research published in Health Affairs.

All states have prescription drug monitoring programs, with the exception of Missouri, but some programs are more comprehensive than others, lead study author Rebecca Haffajee, PhD, assistant professor of health management policy at University of Michigan's School of Public Health told Futurity.

Dr. Haffajee and her colleagues monitored prescription drug program laws to identify which states offered physicians the most  access to comprehensive and recent prescribing data. The researchers identified Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee and New York as state's with the most robust drug monitoring programs.

Out of all 50 states, Kentucky displayed the most  dramatic and consistent reduction in opioid prescriptions and dosages. After implementing a stricter drug monitoring program in 2012, the state experienced a 1.6 percent reduction in opioid fills byt by the end of 2014.

"If a state implements a robust prescription drug monitoring program, it will probably reduce the proportion of commercially insured adults who receive opioid prescriptions, as well as the strength of those prescriptions," Dr. Haffajee told Futurity. "But we would caution that any reductions in opioid prescriptions or dosages must be accompanied by careful clinical oversight … so that patients don't suffer potential unintended consequences of reductions in their prescription opioid supply."

More articles on opioids: 

Opioid crisis: Many stakeholders, common themes, Part 1
Viewpoint: Physicians should no longer use opioids as 'simple solution' to pain
Viewpoint: Federal opioid response must address childhood trauma

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