Following National Trend, Texas’ Opioid Prescriptions Drop
By David Doolittle


In a sign that efforts to curb prescription-drug abuse are taking hold, the number of opioid prescriptions written in Texas and nationwide has fallen significantly since 2013, a study released last month shows.

Nationwide, 22 percent fewer opioid prescriptions were filled in 2017 than in 2013, according to a report by health information company IQVIA. Texas also saw a 22-percent decline during that time, the report said.

But those numbers are tempered by a sharp incline in opioid overdoses, specifically involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdoses climbed from about eight deaths per 100,000 people in 2013 to more than 13 in 2017. Synthetic opioid overdoses jumped from one death per 100,000 people to more than six, the CDC says.

“These statistics again prove that simply decreasing prescription opioid supplies will not end the epidemic,” said Patrice A. Harris, MD, chair of the American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force. “We need well-designed initiatives that bring together public and private insurers, policymakers, public health infrastructure, and communities with the shared goal to improve access and coverage for comprehensive pain management and treatment for substance use disorders.”

According to the IQVIA report, every state in the nation has had a significant reduction in opioid analgesic prescriptions since 2013. The largest drop occurred in 2017, which saw an almost 9-percent decrease from the previous year.

In Texas, more than 18.5 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2013, IQVIA data show. That number fell to more than 14.5 million in 2017, a 21.6-percent decline that included a 5.8-percent drop from 2016 to 2017.

More information about opioid-use disorder in Texas, including one-pagers, guidelines, and the latest news can be found on the Texas Medical Association’s Opioid Resources page.

Last Updated On

May 04, 2018

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David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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