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AMA: Opioid prescriptions down 22 percent in last 5 years

By
Sommer Brokaw
The American Medical Association said in a report Thursday prescription of opioids between 2013 and 2017 declined by 55 million, or 22 percent. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The American Medical Association said in a report Thursday prescription of opioids between 2013 and 2017 declined by 55 million, or 22 percent. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 31 (UPI) -- The American Medical Association issued a report Thursday that says physicians have made significant progress over the last five years to fight the opioid epidemic.

The report found doctors took steps to reduce dependence on opioids in three main ways.

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First, physicians cut the number of opioids prescribed to American patients by more than 55 million, or 22 percent, between 2013 and 2017.

Second, doctors increased the use of state monitoring program -- and third, they increased access to naxolene, which blocks the effects of opioids.

The number of physicians certified to treat patients with opioid-use disorder also increased, the report said.

"While this progress report shows physician leadership and action to help reverse the epidemic, such progress is tempered by the fact that every day, more than 115 people in the United States die from an opioid-related overdose," said Dr. Patrice Harris, chair of the AMA's Opioid Task Force.

"What is needed now is a concerted effort to greatly expand access to high-quality care for pain and for substance use disorders. Unless and until we do that, this epidemic will not end."

The report noted that there are, on average, more than 100 opioid overdoses in the United States each day.

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Last month, a study by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science said prescription opioid dosage decreased by 12 percent in 2017, the largest single-year drop in a quarter-century.

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