A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that too many painkillers are being prescribed across the United States.
The CDC report further stated that due to the spike in prescription opioids there is a greater risk of drug abuse.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said at a news conference reported by WebMD, “The bottom line is we’re not seeing consistent, effective, appropriate prescribing of painkillers across the nation, and this is a problem because of the deaths that result.”
According to the report, healthcare experts and medical practioners wrote out 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012.
Notably, these data were collected from retail pharmacies.
“That’s enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills,” Frieden said.
According to CDC, the states that had the highest rate of prescription narcotics were mainly in the South. The states included Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia. Alabama recorded the highest rate with narcotics prescribed three times more often than in Hawaii, the state with the lowest rate.
According to the CDC, 46 people die from overdosing on prescription pain killers each day in the United States.
The report is part of a CDC campaign that aimed at combating deaths from prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. According to the official data, drug overdose deaths reached 41,000 in 2011 and 41 percent of them involved prescription painkillers.
The federal health agency has also lauded Florida’s efforts to reduce excessive pain killer prescription abuse after a 28 percent jump in overdose rates.
Highlights of the report
- Southern states had the most prescriptions in 2012.
- Alabama was in the lead with 143 prescriptions per 100 people, followed closely by Tennessee.
- The other leading states included: (In ranking order) West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana.
- The Doctors in the southern part also topped prescription rate lists for other medications including antibiotics and stimulants for children.
- Hawaii had the least prescriptions, at 52 per 100 people.