Nation-Wide Opioid Prescribing Changes

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. [1] The estimated economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence was estimated to be $78.5 billion in 2013. [2] 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 [3] 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. [4] Continue reading