New Hampshire doctors are among the nation’s most prolific prescribers of Oxycontin and other opioids, according to a government report released Tuesday that analyzed the state-by-state use of highly addictive painkillers.
The study by the Centers for Disease Control ranked the Granite State third, behind Maine and Delaware, for per-capita prescriptions of Oxycontin, fentanyl and other long-acting opioids in 2012, even as the state ranked relatively low – 39th – for overall opioid prescribing.
Long-acting or extended-release opioids are more prone to abuse.
New Hampshire ranked 7th in the use of so-called high-dose opioids, which are prescribed for chronic pain and are more likely to result in overdose. The state ranked 21st in the use of benzodiazepines, a type of sedative used to treat anxiety and insomnia, often in combination with opioids.
State health officials say there is an epidemic of prescription-drug abuse in New Hampshire. Between 2000 and 2011, the number of drug-related deaths annually quadrupled to 200 - 80 percent of which involved prescription drugs, usually opioids such as oxycodone and methadone.
Meanwhile, state-funded treatment programs have seen a 60 percent increase in patients admitted for oxycodone addiction, and the growing number of people dependent on the drug and other prescription opioids has been blamed for a recent spike in heroin overdoses.
The CDC study found that the US consumes opioid painkillers at a greater rate than any other nation – twice as much as Canada, the second ranking country. Physicians and other providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills.
The 10 highest prescribing states overall are the in South, led by Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Researchers offered no explanation for the regional variation in opioid prescribing practices, although the study noted one possibility: the lack of medical consensus on the use of opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain.
The study recommended prescription drug monitoring programs, or PMPs, as one way for states determine the factors that drive high rates of opioid abuse.
State officials recently awarded a contract to begin collecting data for New Hampshire's PMP, which is aimed at preventing people from visiting multiple physicians for prescriptions that are then filled at different pharmacies.
The program is expected to be up and running by fall.
Meanwhile, New England governors have promised to develop a regional strategy to address opioid abuse, including allowing each state to access the others' PMPs.
This articles was provided by Brian Wallstin and posted originally at http://nhpr.org/post/nh-ranks-high-prescriptions-addictive-painkillers
About Riverbank House, A New Hampshire Drug Rehab
WELCOME HOME to Riverbank House, a New Hampshire drug rehab and a unique & affordable option for men seeking recovery from addiction and self-destruction. Our quality residential experience, innovative enrichment programming, and collaborative approach to self-restoration are designed to offer vital support as you make your way through the 12-step recovery process and rediscover your enthusiasm for a life lived with clarity and purpose. Together — with guidance, structure, and common purpose — Riverbank House community members develop the spiritual, emotional, and physical practices essential to a full life of vibrant, sustainable addiction recovery.
Located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and situated on the banks of the Winnipesaukee River just downstream from beautiful Lake Opechee, Riverbank House is not an institutional drug rehab facility. Our flagship property at 96 Church Street, a fully restored 19th century mansion, offers an atmosphere of unpretentious warmth, and comfort; with 6,500 square feet of interior living space and an expanding campus, Riverbank House offers flexible options for group activities, individual privacy, and relaxed fellowship within an environment of mutual support and true belonging.
Whether you are new to recovery or re-committing yourself to the journey,
Riverbank House offers you safe haven, a place to settle in as you give yourself the gift of time. While Riverbank House does accommodate a small number of 28-day residents, our program is founded upon the long-term, extended care rehabilitation model endorsed by addiction specialists and supported by research findings. Length of stay is the single greatest predictor of success in overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol.