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Report shows positive steps in opioid epidemic fight

The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed in Wisconsin over a recent three-month period decreased by 8.2 million as compared to the same time period in 2015, according to a report issued last week by the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board.

“We continue to take steps to fight the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Scott Walker in this news release. “The statistics released in this report are very encouraging and indicate the efforts we’re putting forth to combat prescription drug abuse and misuse are steps in the right direction. This decrease…means there are fewer doses that may sit in medicine cabinets with the potential of being misused.”

According to the report, the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed in Wisconsin between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, was 1,280,367, which is equivalent to 83,233,662 drug doses. Between July 1 and Sept. 30 of this year, there was a 9.63 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions and a 9.89 percent reduction in drug doses versus the same time period last year. That’s good news, according to Wisconsin Medical Society Chief Medical Officer Donn Dexter, MD.

“With a nearly 10 percent drop in both the number of opioid prescriptions written and the amount of opioids dispensed to patients over a three-month period, Wisconsin physicians have stepped up their scrutiny in what’s best for patient care. Our partnership with state government, law enforcement and other health care groups is showing how Wisconsin can win this fight,” he said. “The report also shows there is important work still to be done. There is frustration over the difficulties physicians encounter when using the current Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)—we continue to look forward to the roll-out of the new ‘enhanced’ PDMP. We also have yet to see the effectiveness of next year’s requirement that prescribers check a patient’s PDMP information before prescribing many drugs,” Dr. Dexter added.

Additional information in the report includes the number of requests for data about their patients made by health care professionals, the number of law enforcement reports submitted to the PDMP, and the quantity of prescriptions dispensed by Wisconsin dispensers located in Wisconsin versus out-of-state dispensers. It also provides data on doctor shopping, pharmacy hopping, and the number of individuals receiving both opioids and benzodiazepine prescriptions.

To view the report, click here. For more coverage of this story, click on the links below:

To assist physicians in their efforts to confront the opioid abuse epidemic, the Society has added several new live and on-demand webinars to its opioid prescribing education series. See related article in this issue of Medigram.

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