Number of opioids prescribed in Valley continue to fall - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Number of opioids prescribed in Valley continue to fall

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

Opioids prescribed to patients in Ohio, including those in the Valley, declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, according to a report from the State Board of Pharmacy.

An analysis of figures from the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), show that between 2012 and 2017the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 225 million doses or 28.4 percent.

Widespread overprescribing of painkillers in the past has been linked to the increasing heroin epidemic which has swept Ohio and the rest of the nation. 

The number of doses prescribed per person in Mahoning County declined from 65 in 2016 to 57 in 2017. The per capita number of doses fell from 60 to 53 over the same period in Columbiana County.

In Trumbull County, the dosages per person fell from 77 to 72 over the past two years.

Trumbull County ranks in the top ten of Ohio's 88 counties when it comes to per capita doses.

Nine other counties have higher rates that Trumbull, with Adams County in Southern Ohio having the highest per capita dosage rate of 93.

The report also found an 88 percent decrease in the amount of Ohioans engaged in the practice of doctor shopping since 2012.

According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology, Doctor shopping is defined as seeing multiple treatment providers, either during a single illness episode or to procure prescription medications illicitly.

Additionally, the use of the RX Reporting System continues to break records, with more than 88 million patient reports requested last year; or an increase of 4,900 percent since 2011.

“Ohio has one of the most comprehensive and aggressive approaches in the country to tackling the opioid epidemic,” said State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Steven W. Schierholt. “Through improvements to OARRS, new prescribing rules and guidelines, shuttering pill mills and aggressive regulatory action against unscrupulous prescribers, the state is making considerable progress in reducing the supply of prescription opioids and other controlled substances that can be abused or diverted.”

Established in 2006, OARRS collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances and one non-controlled substance dispensed by Ohio-licensed pharmacies and personally furnished by Ohio prescribers.

OARRS data is available to prescribers when they treat patients, pharmacists when presented with prescriptions from patients and law enforcement officers during active drug-related investigations.

“It is widely accepted that prescription opioid abuse often progresses to the use of heroin and other illicit drugs. That is why Ohio’s efforts to reduce exposure to prescription opioids are essential to combat this public health crisis,” said Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

An executive summary of the report can be accessed here: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/Summary2017

The complete 2017 OARRS Annual Report can be accessed by visiting: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/OARRS2017

Updated county level data for 2017 can be accessed by visiting: www.pharmacy.ohio.gov/county

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