Article Reports Tennessee Making Strides in Opioid Prescribing


An article published by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science ("Medicine Use and Spending in the U.S.," April 2018) reports that Tennesseans filled 6,709,154 opioid prescriptions at retail pharmacies in 2017, close to a 9 percent decrease from the previous year and a 21.3 percent drop from 2013.

The report states that Tennessee outperformed most of its contiguous states and is on par with the national average for year-over-year improvements and five-year trends.

The Tennessee Medical Association, the state's largest professional organization for doctors, says the data is "validation of the medical community's ongoing efforts to self-regulate prescribing and reduce initial opioid dosage and supply."

National trends show 22.2 percent fewer opioid prescriptions were filled in 2017 than h in 2013, with every state in the nation showing some reduction in the past year. In 2017, a total of 196 million opioid prescriptions were filled in the U.S., representing an 8.9 percent decrease from the prior year - the sharpest single-year decrease reported by IQVIA.

Prescription opioid volumes in the U.S. peaked in 2011 at 240 billion milligrams of morphine milligram equivalents and have declined by 29% to 171 billion MMEs.


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