At Integrated Pain Consultants, Dr. Nikesh Seth has long encouraged patients to consider a variety of alternative treatments to opioid prescription to treat pain. The U.S. is in the middle of an opioid epidemic, but there’s a silver lining. According to statistics from the Institute for Human Data Science released in May 2018, the number of prescriptions for opioids filled in the U.S. fell drastically in 2017. It was the most significant fall in 25 years, which may point to an increasing decline in usage thanks to awareness and legal restrictions.
The report noted that there was a national 8.9 percent drop in filled opioids by both in-store and mail-order pharmacies. Every state enjoyed a decline of at least five percent. In 18 states, there were declines closer to ten percent. These states include regions where opioid epidemics are highest, like Pennsylvania. The Institute’s research director, Michael Kleinrock, says, “We’re at a really critical moment in the country when everybody’s paying attention to the issue. People really don’t want them (opioids) if they can avoid them.”
Prescription opioids come in a variety of doses, and prescription of the higher 90 morphine milligram pills—which comes with the highest risk for addiction—declined nationally by 16 percent in 2017. However, the U.S. still consumes around 30 percent of all opioids on a global scale. In recent years, the federal and state governments have introduced a number of new restrictions that limit dosage and duration of opioids prescribed by doctors. Simultaneously, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) increased punishments for “heavy prescribers.”
Still, emergency rooms reported a big spike in opioid overdoses last year according to government statistics. Deaths from opioid overdoses were also at an all-time high last year. While the Institute is only tracking filled opioid prescriptions, many addicts take to the streets to either get opioids on the black market or “upgrade” to heroin. Heroin has the same foundation as opioids, but users can get a faster high with intravenous injections.
If you’re suffering from pain, whether acute or chronic, and want to avoid opioid prescriptions, consider a rich variety of alternative therapies. Call Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552 and schedule your consultation.