Opioid Prescribing Data

Note:
We update this information every quarter. Here we use data from Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).


Rhode Islanders who suffer from chronic pain (pain generally lasting longer than 90 days) deserve safe and effective care. Opioid prescription pain medications are a type of medicine used to relieve chronic pain. These medications cause your brain to block the feeling of pain but they do not treat the underlying cause. Pain can guide the body in healing and blocking pain isn’t always healthy.

We know that there are serious health risks of opioid use disorder (developing an addiction) and accidental overdose with ongoing use of opioid prescription pain medications, especially if someone is prescribed a high dose or is taking a prescription opioid for a long time. The Centers for Disease Control recommends limiting opioid prescriptions for chronic pain. These charts are based on guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help prescribers provide safer, more effective care. Learn more about these CDC guidelines. The charts use data from the PDMP (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program), a useful tool to help prescribers prevent drug interactions, accidental overdose, death, dependence, possible addiction, or potential diversion.


Taking more than one drug at a time can be deadly

When you take two medicines at the same time the chances of overdosing are much higher. This is especially true with opioids–like percocet or vicodin, and benzodiazepines–like valium. Doctors and clinicians in Rhode Island are working closely with their patients to make sure they are not given combinations of medicines that increase their chance of overdose. This means fewer people are given overlapping prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines in the same 30 days.
Source (RIDOH)

Number of People Co-Prescribed an Overlapping Opioid and Benzodiazepine, 2017 to 2018


Note: Rhode Island’s vendor for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) changed in 2016. This metric was provided by the former vendor in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Please use caution when comparing 2017 to previous years.
Note: Data for overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine co-prescriptions are calculated differently by year or by quarter. Summing this quarterly data gives a higher number of people than the yearly prevention strategy metric on the Track Our Action Plan data page.


New opioid prescriptions can lead to addiction in some people

Some people inherit a gene that makes them more likely than others to become addicted to an opioid prescription pain medication even after a few doses. Healthcare providers are looking into new ways to manage pain, since opioid medications are not always the right answer. Non-pharmacologic therapies like exercise, physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and cognitive behavioral therapy are also effective options for treating pain. Learn more about non-opioid pain management therapies for treat pain.
Source (RIDOH)

Number of People Receiving New Opioid Prescriptions, by Quarter, 2017 and 2018


Note: A new opioid prescription is one that starts 60 or more days after the last opioid prescription ends.


Number of Opioid Prescriptions per Quarter, 2017 to 2018



Lower doses of opioid prescriptions help prevent overdose

Prescription opioids are powerful medications that can cause an accidental overdose. Non-opioid pain management therapies are often safer and/or equally or more effective than opioid prescription pain medications. CDC guidelines recommend that people who need pain relief, start with non-opioid medications such as non-prescription acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or non-prescription ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) before they receive the lowest possible effective dose of an opioid, and then only for a short duration (few days).

This means that healthcare providers in Rhode Island are giving safer doses of these medications so fewer people are at risk for an accidental overdose. Guidelines from the Rhode Island Department of Health can help healthcare providers work with their patients to decide if and when to start opioid medications.
Source (RIDOH)

Number of Prescriptions for High-Dose Opioids Each Quarter, 2017 to 2018


Note: High-dose opioid prescriptions as defined as greater than 90 MME, or morphine milligram equivalents per day. This is used to measure the overdose risk of the amount of opioid being given. Clinicians should avoid increasing dosage to ≥90 MME/day or carefully justify a decision to titrate dosage to ≥90 MME/day.


Average Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) per Script per Quarter, 2017 to 2018


Note: High-dose opioid prescriptions as defined as greater than 90 MME, or morphine milligram equivalents per day. This is used to measure the overdose risk of the amount of opioid being given. Clinicians should avoid increasing dosage to ≥90 MME/day or carefully justify a decision to titrate dosage to ≥90 MME/day.

Learn more about the MME


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