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High Opioid Prescribing Rates — and How Florida Could Be a Model — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 2, 2014

High Opioid Prescribing Rates — and How Florida Could Be a Model

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

For every 100 people in the U.S. in 2012, there were 82.5 prescriptions written for opioid pain relievers and 37.6 prescriptions for benzodiazepines, according to new CDC data in MMWR. Prescription rates varied widely and were highest in the South.

CDC officials point to Florida as a model for combating prescription opioid abuse. The state enacted legislation regulating pain clinics in 2010 and banned physicians from dispensing schedule II and III drugs from their offices the following year. As a result, drug diversion (i.e., channeling of drugs to illegal markets) declined, and the oxycodone overdose death rate was halved.

Reader Comments (5)

Daniel M. Schuman, MD FACS Physician, Surgery, Specialized, retired....previously Boca Raton, Florida

Agree with Dr. Gordon even with a few of our Cancer patients who were caught selling the meds in the past. Yet, confused by Molina [who did not give her credentials] because of the numerous spelling errors and syntax in English that even 'spell check' should have corrected? Even my old colleagues in Neurology that I conferred with did not understand why someone would not wish to control the illegal selling and reduce the deaths by having some form of control device in action in Florida in particular. Thanks for your time.

M Hellebuyck

I wish everyone who came up with this solution lives one day in my pain. None for a year. I move to Mexico and risk other problems. No pain medication to make my life a little more pleasant,. May a thousand elephants tromp upon whomever takes away med to relieve my pain.

Claude S Poliakoff, MD FACS retired Physician, Surgery, General, Volunteer @ OHSU

The data speaks for itself. Having a few samples to GIVE not sell to poor patients may be worthy, but dispensing, i.e. selling drugs in a medical office is a perfect storm for drug diversion. There are many other ways to support dedicated physicians who intentionally establish practices in underserved communities. Traditional fiscal government strangling medicaid spending, combined with drug dispensing privileges, was a perfect setup for illicit drug diversion to supplement legally restricted income. I hope Florida's law did SOMETHING to help poor community physicians & nurses.

Jeoffry Gordon, MD, MPH Physician, Gastroenterology, Family Health Centers of San Diego

Yes but Florida had well known and wild and crazy uncontrolled and unprofessional narcotic prescribing industry before they cracked down.

luis molina Physician, Neurology, Alltek International Medical Group

the conclucion is not right, because now after an experimental time in Florida, every patient, went to become part and increasing the iligall market, were just one Percocet de 30 mg, cost one dolar per mg means 0ne Percocet cost $ 30,00 and what that patient do for to get the medication that need, goes and get money on any way is possible: stealing, prostitute, selling their bodyies, and leaving the regular job, and the familyes.Why because they need the medicacion for survive and continuing working,remember if you take the pain away the patient is still ready to work and make ligall money and have a discent life. if you don't know how is to live with pain like the members of the commission doesn't know, you better quit and don't make money out of the poor people who is suffering due to an incurable disease.

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