How frequently are opioids prescribed for pain in the US?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: David W Dixon, DO; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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An analysis from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 2012 prescribing data collected from US retail pharmacies showed that healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers that year and that 46 individuals died each day in the United States from an overdose of prescription painkillers. [13, 14, 15] The distribution of opioid painkiller prescriptions varied widely among states; healthcare providers in the highest-prescribing state (Alabama) wrote almost three times as many prescriptions per person as those in the lowest-prescribing state (Hawaii).

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