Alabama opiod prescriptions fall for the year

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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Alabama physicians are taking action to reduce the number and potency of opioid prescriptions and to increase access to medication that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses, according to a new report released Thursday.

 

Key highlights from the American Medical Association report show:

  • Opioid prescriptions in Alabama decreased 43.7 percent from 2012-2022. From 2021-2022, opioid prescriptions in the state declined 3.2 percent, marking the 10th consecutive year the number of opioid prescriptions in Alabama has declined.
  • The dosage strength of opioid prescriptions fell 55.4 percent from 2012-2022 and dropped 5.3 percent between 2021-2022.
  • Prescriptions of naloxone to treat patients at risk of an opioid overdose rose 192.7 percent between 2012-2022 and 29.3 from 2021-2022.
  • Physicians and other healthcare professionals accessed the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program more than 5.8 million times in 2022, an increase of more than 64 percent from 2018. Healthcare providers who dispense opioids in Alabama must report the information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to help physicians detect the abuse and misuse of prescriptions.

The Medical Association of the State of Alabama was one of the first medical associations in the country to offer a continuing education course to train physicians on safely and effectively prescribing opioids. Since 2009, more than 8,000 prescribers in Alabama have completed the course.

“Physicians are intensifying efforts to further our training and to curb opioid prescriptions in Alabama,” said Dr. George Koulianos, President of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. “Despite this significant progress, the relentless infiltration of illicit drugs tainted with fentanyl is making our overdose crisis worse than ever.”

The Medical Association is working with several organizations through the Odds Are Alabama campaign to spotlight the dangers of fentanyl. Individuals can visit the Odds Are Alabama website for fentanyl information, treatment options and to share their experiences.