Does Where You Live Have an Impact on the Amount of Opioids Prescribed?

February 4, 2019 | Physician Practice News

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​Patients in rural areas are prescribed opioids at a higher rate than those in urban areas, according to the January 18, 2019, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC analyzed patient opioid prescription data from January 2014 through March 2017 from a national electronic health record vendor and found the overall percentage of patients with opioid prescriptions in the least populous counties was 9.6% compared with 5.2% in the most populous counties. Reasons posited for this disparity included the likelihood for prescription drug use and misuse at an earlier age, larger prevalence of chronic pain among people living in rural areas, and inconsistency in applying opioid prescribing guidelines.

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