Opioid prescription rates drop following new regulations

Delaware doctors have written fewer prescriptions for opioid drugs since the enactment of new regulations by the Department of State earlier this year.

The rate has dropped 12 percent, according to the Division of Professional Regulation, compared to the first quarter of 2017. The overall number of patients being treated with opioids has dropped eight percent.

“Limiting the availability of prescribed opioids that end up being diverted, sold and illegally abused is an important part of our fight to stem the tide of opioid addiction in Delaware,” said Gov. John Carney. “Opioid prescription rates remain too high in Delaware, but this is an issue we will continue to address in a comprehensive way.”

The regulations, implemented April 1, came as a direct response to the uptick in opioid-related overdoses. Effectively the regulations put in additional stop-gaps, such as limiting first-time prescriptions to one week.

“A significant reduction in the number of pills being prescribed means a better chance that fewer end up on the street,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Just as important, fewer people being prescribed opioids is a sign that medical professionals in Delaware may be changing their prescribing practices and relying less heavily on highly addictive opioids when better alternatives exist. Seven months into our new regulatory framework for opioids, we are seeing the results we had hoped for.”

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