Opioid prescriptions reduced continuously from 2010 to 2015 in all of America, but a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that within that time, the product became much more accessible. The report also shows that prescription remain up to three times higher what was established in 1999 when researchers first identified possible signs of an opioid epidemic.
Dr. Gery Guy is the lead analyst of the CDC report. He is a health economist of the organization. According to him, “Although the amount of opioids prescribed has decreased in some areas of the United States since 2010, the amount of opioids prescribed remain substantially elevated compared to years prior to 2000, putting the U.S. population, especially those in high prescribing counties, at continued risk for opioid use disorder and overdose.”
The problem is indeed precarious and health experts recommend urgent action be taken to remedy the situation.
The CDC report does highlight different efforts around America to sort out the opioid prescription problem given that up to 33,000 people died in 2015 due to opioid related issues. Dr. Gery Guy notes that “Individuals can consider non-opioid options for pain management, take medicine exactly as prescribed, store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others — including children, family, friends, and visitors — dispose of medications properly as soon as the course of treatment is done, and get help if they are having trouble controlling their opioid use.”
He adds that patients should “consider ways to manage pain that does not include opioids, such as non-opioid medications — acetaminophen or ibuprofen — cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, and physical therapy,” before starting opioid therapies for pain relief.
Scientists say there is some degree of irregularity in prescribing opioids and agreeing on how it should be used nationwide. They strongly recommend that the CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain be fully respected.