New Vital Signs on Opioid Prescribing

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New Vital Signs on Opioid Prescribing
This month’s Vital Signs presents CDC findings on trends in opioid prescribing practices and county-level variation in the United States, including in counties with high levels of disability. Key points in the July Vital Signs report include:

  • The amount of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and then decreased each year through 2015. Despite reductions, the amount of opioids prescribed remains approximately three times as high as in 1999.
  • Higher amounts were prescribed in counties with a greater percentage of white residents; a higher prevalence of diabetes, arthritis, and disability; micropolitan counties (i.e., town/city; nonmetro); and higher rates of unemployment and uninsured.
  • Opioid prescribing varied substantially across the country, with average per capita amounts prescribed in the highest-prescribing counties over six times the amounts prescribed in the lowest-prescribing counties.
  • Healthcare providers can follow the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain which provides evidence-based recommendations about opioid prescribing for primary care clinicians treating adult patients with chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

As CDC continues its work to address the opioid epidemic, NCBDDD will continue to provide expertise and assistance to develop strategies to reduce the impact of the epidemic among pregnant women and their babies.  Through our Treating for Two Initiative, we will continue to work with others across CDC, the federal government, and the scientific and medical communities to build a comprehensive approach to understanding and communicating the risks associated with the use of medications during pregnancy.”

Please consider following us on Twitter at @CDC_NCBDDD and @CDCgov and on Facebook at @CDC in addition to sharing this news with your respective networks.


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