Opioid prescriptions fell over 5 years, but no easy end to addiction crisis

WASHINGTON (BY: ABBY GOODNOUGH, THE NEW YORK TIMES) — The amount of opioid painkillers prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010, a new federal analysis has found, with prescriptions for higher, more dangerous doses dropping most sharply — by 41 percent — since then.

But the analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that the prescribing rate in 2015 remained three times as high as in 1999, when the nation’s problem with opioid addiction was just getting started. And there is still tremendous regional variation in how many opioids doctors dole out, with far more prescribed per capita in parts of Maine, Nevada and Tennessee, for example, than in most of Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.

Overall, the analysis found that the amount of opioids prescribed fell by 18 percent between 2010 and 2015, though it increased in 23 percent of counties.

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