Friday, July 04, 2014
Overdose Deaths Declined
Attached a link to an article titled " Prescription Overdose Deaths in Florida Plunge After Tougher Measures, Report Says" reporting that the death rate from prescription drug overdoses in Florida fell by 23 percent from 2010 to 2012, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report states that during 2003–2009, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose in Florida increased 61.0%, from 1,804 to 2,905, with especially large increases in deaths caused by the opioid pain reliever oxycodone and the benzodiazepine alprazolam. In response, Florida implemented various laws and enforcement actions as part of a comprehensive effort to reverse the trend. This report describes changes in overdose deaths for prescription and illicit drugs and changes in the prescribing of drugs frequently associated with these deaths in Florida after these policy changes. During 2010–2012, the number of drug overdose deaths decreased 16.7%, from 3,201 to 2,666, and the deaths per 100,000 persons decreased 17.7%, from 17.0 to 14.0. Death rates for prescription drugs overall decreased 23.2%, from 14.5 to 11.1 per 100,000 persons. The decline in the overdose deaths from oxycodone (52.1%) exceeded the decline for other opioid pain relievers, and the decline in deaths for alprazolam (35.6%) exceeded the decline for other benzodiazepines. Similar declines occurred in prescribing rates for these drugs during this period. The report also emphasizes that " the temporal association between the legislative and enforcement actions and the substantial declines in prescribing and overdose deaths, especially for drugs favored by pain clinics, suggests that the initiatives in Florida reduced prescription drug overdose fatalities." This should serve as evidence that a well designed and executed public policy can improve public health and safe lives. Therefore, we must push for increased funding for such measures including the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) which is a valuable and essential tool in protecting patients from accidental overdose. Happy 4th of July.
Posted by Bernd Wollschlaeger,MD,FAAFP,FASAM at 6:50 PM