May 30, 2018

CT: Opioid prescriptions in ‘17 down 14%

PHOTO | Steve Heap,
PHOTO | Steve Heap,

State officials say the fight against Connecticut's opioid crisis scored a victory in 2017, as prescriptions fell by 14 percent compared to 2016.

Drawing from data collected by the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), the state's Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) says opioid prescriptions in Connecticut have decreased by almost 16.9 percent, or 440,091, since 2014.

Physicians wrote more than 2.1 million opioid prescriptions in 2017 vs. 2.6 million prescribed in 2014, DCP says.

"We know that there is an incredible amount of work that needs to be done to combat the opioid crisis, but the decline in opioid prescriptions is encouraging, and we want the public to have the opportunity to follow this data with us," DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said.

PDMP records prescription data for schedule two through schedule five drugs into a centralized database. The information can be used by pharmacists and healthcare providers when treating patients.

The PDMP data included other bright spots.

Prescriptions for benzodiazepine, or "benzos," a drug commonly used for the treatment of seizures, anxiety and panic disorders, also fell in 2017 by more than 4 percent, or 70,739 prescriptions. That represents a 6.4 percent prescription decrease since 2014.

In April, Connecticut was among a group of 12 states that earned recognition for its coordinated response to the nation's opioid crisis.

A report by the National Safety Council assigned Connecticut and a dozen other states a "B" grade for their efforts to protect residents from opioid overdoses. NSC said no state earned an "A" grade, while 26 states did not earn a passing grade.

The Illinois-based nonprofit is devoted to eliminating preventable deaths at work, home, and in the community.

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