Meron Mezgebe, Mercer University College of Pharmacy
The national opioid crisis has reached epidemic levels, with 33,091 drug overdose deaths involving an opioid in 2015.  The estimated economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence was estimated to be $78.5 billion in 2013.  The exposure to prescription opioids was found to be a strong risk factor opioid use disorder among individuals with a new episode of a chronic non-cancer pain condition in a 2000-2005 database analysis  Accordingly, in 2016 the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain outline specific criteria for the initiation and continuation of opioids for chronic pain.  Continue reading
Sarah Vo, Mercer University College of Pharmacy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 48.7% (2009 – 2012) of the population in the United States (US) used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days. The CDC also reported that 10.7% (2009 – 2012) of the US population used five or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days. 
Prescription drugs are said to be a vital component of efforts to maintain or improve health. The increase in new products and technologies, the number of people prescribed medications, and the number of prescriptions per user are considered to have contributed to increases in overall prescription drug spending. 
Drug utilization research helps compare the observed patterns of drug use for the treatment of a certain disease with current recommendations or guidelines. It is considered to have the ability to determine the pattern or profile of drug use and the extent to which alternative drugs are being used to treat particular conditions.