Painkiller Prescription Rates Vary Widely Among States
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 09:52 AM

U.S. health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012, enough to give a bottle of the pills to every adult in the country.  A new report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday, shows prescribing rates vary widely by state. The highest rates are in the Southeast, led by Alabama. Providers in that state wrote 143 prescriptions for every 100 residents, while providers in Hawaii, the state with the lowest rate, wrote 52 for every 100 people, nearly three times fewer.  Other states with very high rates include Tennessee and West Virginia; states with low rates include California and New York.

Rates of painful illness and injuries do not vary enough from place to place to explain the differences, CDC says. Instead, high prescribing rates often reflect inappropriate uses of the drugs – which contribute to high rates of opioid painkiller overdoses, officials say.  CDC says 46 people in the United States die from prescription painkiller overdoses each day.