Opioid prescriptions dropped for the first time in the modern drug crisis

The Washington Post – The number of prescriptions for opioids written by health-care providers declined between 2012 and 2015, the government reported Thursday, introducing a glimmer of progress in efforts to quell the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said prescriptions for highly addictive painkillers such as oxycodone dropped 13.1 percent over the three-year period, from 81.2 per 100 people to 70.6.

Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director, expressed tempered optimism about the first national decline in opioid prescriptions that the CDC has reported since the crisis began in the late 1990s. She said the prescription rate is still triple the level it was in 1999 and four times what it is in some European countries. Even at the reduced prescribing rate, she said, enough opioids were ordered in 2015 to keep every American medicated round-the-clock for three weeks.

“It looks a little bit better, but you really have to put that in context,” Schuchat said in an interview. “We’re still seeing too many people get too much for too long.”

Read more at The Washington Post.