AMA report shows national progress toward reversing opioid epidemic

A new report from the American Medical Association (AMA) has found a decrease in opioid analgesic prescribing and increases in the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Patrice A.

A new report from the American Medical Association (AMA) has found a decrease in opioid analgesic prescribing and increases in the use of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, chair AMA Opioid Task Force, says: "What is needed now is a concerted effort to greatly expand access to high quality care for pain and for substance use disorders." The report reveals that opioid prescribing decreased for the fifth consecutive year. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of opioid prescriptions dropped by more than 55 million—a 22.2% decrease nationwide. PDMP registration and use continues to increase. In 2017, health care professionals nationwide accessed state databases more than 300.4 million times—a 121% increase from 2016. States with and without mandates to use the PDMP saw large increases. In 2017, nearly 550,000 physicians and other health care professionals also took continuing medical education classes and other education and training in pain management, substance use disorders, and related areas. Naloxone prescriptions more than doubled in 2017, from approximately 3,500 to 8,000 naloxone prescriptions dispensed weekly.