A yearly report by the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System indicates that more doctors and pharmacists are checking into patient information before prescribing opioids. 

The annual report says more than 41,000 pharmacists and doctors have direct access to the OARRS system. 

OARRS collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances and two non-controlled substances (gabapentin and naltrexone) dispensed by Ohio-licensed pharmacies and personally furnished by Ohio prescribers. This data is reported every 24 hours and is maintained in a secure database.

OARRS helps prescribers and pharmacists avoid potentially life-threatening drug interactions as well as identify individuals fraudulently obtaining controlled substances from multiple healthcare providers; a practice commonly referred to as "doctor shopping."

According to the report, Ohio is "making significant strides in its efforts to promote a measured approach to the prescribing of opioids and benzodiazepines."

The report, which spans several years, says that the number of opioid doses has decreased from a high of 793 million in 2012 down to 468 million in 2018, a 41 percent decrease. 

Similarly, doses of benzodiazepine doses decreased from 297 million to 197 million over the same time frame. 

Though the number of prescribers in the state increased from 2010 to 2018, the number of patients receiving opioid pain relievers decreased by nearly 900,000. 

Officials say the number of queries made by prescribers and pharmacists for patient information increased by 7,900 percent- from 1.78 million inquiries in 2011 to 142.5 million in 2018. 

Over the years, Ohio has seen a marked decrease in the behavior known as "doctor shopping". Doctor shopping is defined by an individual who receives a prescription for a controlled substance from five or more providers in the same month. 

The number of known doctor shoppers, according to the report, decreased from 2,205 in 2011 down to 239 in 2018- marking an 89 percent decrease. 

"We all have a role to play in battling this public health crisis, and this continued downward trend in opioid prescriptions demonstrates that Ohio's prescribers are making significant progress in their efforts to prevent addiction," said Governor DeWine. "When this crisis first emerged, prescribers were led to believe that opioids were not addictive, but we know today that is not the case. It is encouraging to see such substantial progress to limit opioid prescriptions to stop painkiller abuse and diversion."

"The Board is proud of the advances it has made to increase the use of OARRS to promote responsible prescribing and improved patient outcomes," said State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Steven W. Schierholt.