Opioid prescriptions are down, but abuse is still too common, says CDC

There are enough painkillers being prescribed to keep every American high for three weeks straight, but the rate of new prescriptions has nevertheless dropped since 2010.

Leon Clarke | Jul 10, 2017

   

There are enough painkillers being prescribed to keep every American high for three weeks straight, but the rate of new prescriptions has nevertheless dropped since 2010, the Centers for Disease Control said in a new report. The report, published Thursday, encouraged lawmakers to do more to stem opioid abuse and addictions.
"The amount of opioids prescribed in the US is still too high, with too many opioid prescriptions for too many days at too high a dosage," said Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC.
The report finds that prescriptions for OXycontin, Fentanyl, and other opioids hit a peak in 2010 and then dropped over the next five years. The number of prescriptions stood at 81.2 per 100 people in the United States in 2012 to 70.6 per 100 people in 2015a 13% decrease. The year 2015 was the last year for which complete data was available.
The report notes that 2015's totals are still three times higher than those of 1999. Schuchat also noted that U.S. opioid use as of 2015 was still four times the rate of some European countries.
The CDC is one of many government bodies that are sounding the alarms over opioid addiction in the United States. Four states' attorneys-general filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in their states in just the past month, all charging the manufacturers with misleading the public about their products' supposed benefits and actual harms, especially the risks of addiction.
Opioid abuse killed nearly 180,000 Americans between 2000 and 2015. And in some states, opioid addiction ranks as a leading cause of death, equal to or even greater than automobile accidents.

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